Comparison of Escherichia Coli Isolates Implicated in Human Urinary Tract Infection and Avian Colibacillosis

Microbiology. 2005 Jun;151(Pt 6):2097-2110. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.27499-0.


Since avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) and human uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) may encounter similar challenges when establishing infection in extraintestinal locations, they may share a similar content of virulence genes and capacity to cause disease. In the present study, 524 APEC and 200 UPEC isolates were compared by their content of virulence genes, phylogenetic group, and other traits. The two groups showed substantial overlap in terms of their serogroups, phylogenetic groups and virulence genotypes, including their possession of certain genes associated with large transmissible plasmids of APEC. Based on these results, the propensity of both groups to cause extraintestinal infections, and a well-documented ability of avian E. coli to spread to human beings, the potential for APEC to act as human UPEC or as a reservoir of virulence genes for UPEC should be considered. However, significant differences in the prevalence of the traits occurred across the two groups, suggesting that if APEC are involved in human urinary tract infections, they are not involved in all of them.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bird Diseases / microbiology*
  • Birds
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / veterinary*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genotype
  • Hemolysis
  • Humans
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Plasmids
  • Serotyping
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology*
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / genetics


  • Virulence Factors
  • Lactose