Molecular typing reveals dissemination of common Escherichia coli genetic types on poultry farms
Hiott, Lari McGowan
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The most common cause of mortality in broiler chicken flocks is E. coli airsacculitis. E. coli is a normal inhabitant of the intestinal tract of chickens, therefore it is found on all poultry farms. The primary question is there is a virulent strain of E. coli causing disease in the poultry flocks. This study was done to determine which of these scenarios were true. One hundred ninety-two isolates were tested using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD), and Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE). The ERIC- PCR produced 96 genetic types while the RAPD using 1290 primer produced 146 genetic types. The RAPD using the 1254 tested 66 isolates and found 40 different genetic types. The PFGE was performed on 48 isolates and yielded similar banding patterns between isolates collected twenty years ago to ones collected within the last five years. Similar DNA banding patterns were also found among different poultry companies in different states, even in different decades. This indicates that there may be a virulent strain of E. coli from almost twenty years ago still infecting flocks across the country today.