2002 Volume 64 Issue 11 Pages 1071-1073
The role of birds as sources of Shiga toxin-and intimin-producing Escherichia coli was studied. Fecal samples from live gulls (n=86), pigeons (n=33) and broiler chickens (n=199) from 23 flocks were analyzed for stx and eae by PCR. No stx positive samples were detected. In contrast, eae E. coli were highly prevalent among gulls (40%), and was also found in pigeons (7%) and chickens (57% of the flocks contaminated). The eae positive isolates were analyzed genetically and O-serogrouped. One isolate from a pigeon was found to have stx 2f. The isolates of gulls differed from those of pigeons and chickens, and all eae E. coli isolates from birds differed from human pathogenic strains by the lack of EHEC-hlyA and bfp/EAF as well as distribution of O-serogroups. Thus, birds cannot be regarded as important carriers of zoonotic stx or eae E. coli in Finland.