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Avian Dis. 1985 Oct-Dec;29(4):1094-107.

In vitro and in vivo characterization of avian Escherichia coli. II. Factors associated with pathogenicity.


The pathogenicity of 197 Escherichia coli isolates obtained from clinically affected commercially grown broiler chickens and normal hatchery chicks was assessed by inoculating day-old broilers intratracheally. The degree of pathogenicity (high, intermediate, low) was judged according to mortality and lesions occurring within 7 days following inoculation. Serotype, metabolic activity, motility, and in vitro antibiotic sensitivity of each isolate were evaluated and related to pathogenicity. Seventy-five of the isolates of high to intermediate pathogenicity belonged to serogroup O2, O78, or O35. In addition, 51 pathogenic E. coli isolates could not be serotyped, and several had multiple serotypes. Most isolates had similar metabolic activity, as determined by amino acid decarboxylation and carbohydrate fermentation, regardless of pathogenicity. An exception was the fermentation of adonitol, which occurred more frequently with the highly pathogenic strains. Motility and in vitro antibiotic sensitivity were not related to pathogenicity. An age-associated resistance to intratracheal E. coli administration occurred by 15 days of age in uncompromised birds. Relative susceptibility of birds older than 2 weeks to intratracheal and/or intravenous E. coli inoculation could be increased by prior exposure to pathogenic reovirus 1733, adenovirus 3167, or infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV). Birds infected with IBDV at 3 weeks failed to clear apathogenic and pathogenic E. coli from circulating blood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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