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ISRN Veterinary Science
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 984813, 6 pages
Research Article

A Survey for Escherichia coli Virulence Factors in Asymptomatic Free-Ranging Parrots

1Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508 270 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Programa de MDR, Universidade Anhanguera-UNIDERP, and Projeto Arara-azul, 79051 660 Campo Grande, MS, Brazil
3Projeto Papagaio-verdadeiro, Fundação Neotrópica do Brasil, 79290 000 Bonito, MS, Brazil
4Universidade Luterana do Brasil, 92425 900 Canoas, RS, Brazil
5Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508 090 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 19 April 2012; Accepted 20 May 2012

Academic Editors: M. H. Kogut and A. Pratelli

Copyright © 2012 André Becker Saidenberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parrots in captivity are frequently affected by Escherichia coli (E. coli) infections. The objective of this study was to collect information on the carrier state for E. coli pathotypes in asymptomatic free-ranging parrots. Cloacal swabs were collected from nestlings of Hyacinth, Lear’s macaws and Blue-fronted Amazon parrots and tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for virulence factors commonly found in enteropathogenic, avian pathogenic, and uropathogenic E. coli strains. In total, 44 samples were cultured and E. coli isolates were yielded, from which DNA was extracted and processed by PCR. Genes commonly found in APEC isolates from Blue-fronted Amazon parrots and Hyacinth macaws were expressed in 14 of these 44 samples. One atypical EPEC isolate was obtained from a sample from Lear’s macaw. The most commonly found gene was the increased serum survival (iss) gene. This is the first report, that describes such pathotypes in asymptomatic free-living parrots. The findings of this study suggest the presence of a stable host/parasite relationship at the time of the sampling brings a new understanding to the role that E. coli plays in captive and wild parrots. Such information can be used to improve husbandry protocols as well as help conservation efforts of free-living populations.