The virulence factors of avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) isolated in Japan were investigated. Serogroups O, serotypes K1 and K5, and genes cvaC, iss, iutA, papA, tsh, and usp, which have been thought to be related to virulence, were examined for their association with E. coli strains isolated from diseased and healthy chickens. The frequently recognized serogroups O1, O2, and O78 were found in 56 of 125 (44.8%) strains of diseased chickens (APEC) versus 13 of 100 (13.0%) strains of healthy chickens (commensal E. coli), a significant difference at risk ratio < 0.01. Although iss, iutA, and tsh were widely distributed in the APEC irrespective of O serogroup, papA, usp, and the K1 serotype were detected in serogroup O2 of APEC. The kfiD gene related to the K5 capsule and VT, LT, and ST genes related to exotoxins were not detected in any strains examined.
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Vol. 51 • No. 3