Wild birds may play an important role dispersing pathogenic microorganisms. Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) are enterobacteria belonging to the ExPEC (Extra-intestinal Pathogenic E. coli) group, and represent a major cause of mortality in commercial poultry farms, leading to significant economic impact due to losses in chicken world production. The diagnosis of infectious diseases in wild birds is a difficult task because most clinical signs are unspecific. Moreover, apparently healthy birds may carry pathogenic microorganisms, facilitating their survival and dissemination. Considering that the available information on APEC virulence and pathogenic factors in wild birds are scarce, the objective of the present project is to investigate the pathogenic potential of strains isolated from free-living birds from the Southern Brazilian coast and previously characterized as ExPEC. In order to do so and using molecular approach, we will search the occurrence of five genes carried by plasmids (iutA, hlyF, iss, ompT and iroN) and considered predictors of virulence. The results may contribute to better understand the role played by free-living birds on the environmental perpetuation and dissemination of pathogenic E. coli.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: