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Chlamydiosis in Backyard Chickens (Gallus gallus) in Italy

Donati, Manuela, Laroucau, Karine, Guerrini, Alessandro, Balboni, Andrea, Salvatore, Daniela, Catelli, Elena, Lupini, Caterina, Levi, Aurora, Di Francesco, Antonietta
Vector borne and zoonotic diseases 2018 v.18 no.4 pp. 222-225
Chlamydia, Chlamydophila psittaci, Gallus gallus, chickens, chlamydiosis, cloaca, etiological agents, farms, pigeons, psittacosis, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rearing, Italy
Until recently, Chlamydia psittaci was considered to be the only etiological agent of avian chlamydiosis, but two new avian species, Chlamydia gallinacea and Chlamydia avium, have recently been described in poultry and pigeons or psittacine birds, respectively. The aim of this study was to explore the occurrence of C. psittaci and C. gallinacea in backyard chickens in Italy. Cloacal swabs were taken from 160 asymptomatic chickens reared in 16 backyard farms. Samples were tested for C. psittaci and C. gallinacea by specific real-time polymerase chain reaction assays, with 24 (15%) of the 160 chickens resulting positive for C. gallinacea. To attempt chlamydial isolation, new samples were obtained from two farms harboring a high prevalence (60% and 70%, respectively) of C. gallinacea-positive chickens. In total, eight C. gallinacea and one C. psittaci isolates were successfully recovered from 13 chickens. C. gallinacea was confirmed to be the endemic chlamydial species in chickens, with a high ompA intraspecies diversity. The presence of viable C. psittaci and C. gallinacea demonstrated by isolation from chickens in backyard farms poses a potential public health problem.