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, 14 (4), 251-5

Occurrence of Enteropathogenic Bacteria in Urban Pigeons (Columba Livia) in Italy

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Occurrence of Enteropathogenic Bacteria in Urban Pigeons (Columba Livia) in Italy

Antonio Gargiulo et al. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis.

Abstract

This study was aimed at evaluating the prevalence of Campylobacter spp., Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella spp., and related virulence factors (the cdt, stx, and eae genes) in urban pigeons of the coastal area of the Campania region (southern Italy). To achieve this goal, cloacal swab samples from a total of 1800 urban pigeons were collected and subjected to culture methods, PCR, and serotyping. The results of the present study showed a prevalence of 48.3% (870/1800), 7.8% (141/1800), and 0.9% (16/1800), for C. jejuni, E. coli O157, and S. Typhimurium, respectively. All C. jejuni isolates (870/870) carried cdt genes, whereas all E. coli O157 isolates carried stx genes, and 14.9% (21/141) carried the eae gene. These findings clearly show that urban pigeons in the coastal area of the Campania region may constitute an environmental reservoir of these pathogens, thus representing a source of infection for other birds, livestock, and humans.

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