In addition to being the causative agent of fowl cholera (FC), Pasteurella multocida is also one of the most prevalent opportunistic pathogens associated with respiratory diseases in various hosts. However, understanding of the traits that distinguish the virulent isolates that cause FC is still limited. The objective of this study was to characterize P. multocida isolates of Brazil by PCR–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis in order to determine if strain-type correlates with virulence or with 22 previously studied virulence genes. The PCR-RFLP was used to classify the isolates into seven strain types, and the isolates in Profile II had a higher pathogenicity index (P < 0.05) than did those in Profiles I, V, and VI. The overall identity among the nucleotide sequences of the ompH was 89.8%. Furthermore, strains available in GenBank showed a high level of homology of the different bacterial serotypes with the groupings resulting from the PCR-RFLP. Strain Types I and II showed the highest identity with Serotypes 3 (100%) and 3-4 (99.1%), respectively. Detection of the pfhA gene indicated the presence of strains that are highly pathogenic. The screening detection of 22 virulence genes and inference through the decision tree models comparing the results of pathogenicity indices permitted the identification of the most highly pathogenic strains of P. multocida.
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