Strains of the bacterium Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT), a causal agent of respiratory diseases in birds, were microbiologically isolated, identified, and molecularly characterized. Blood-enriched culture media and biochemistry tests were used for microbiologic identification. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and repetitive extragenic palindromic PCR (rep-PCR) techniques were used for molecular identification and characterization, respectively, of the microorganism. ORT strains were isolated in enriched media from the trachea and air sacs of broilers, breeders, and layers from several geographic zones of Peru. Of the original 75 strains isolated from 75 clinical samples from which ORT was recovered during 1998–2000, 25 were selected for further study based on ORT as the primary pathogenic isolate (no other pathogens were detected). Selected isolates were molecularly identified and characterized by PCR using specific primers designed from the conserved zones of the 16S ribosomal genes. Primers used for the identification of ORT produced a specific fragment of 784 base pair (bp), which did not appear in Haemophilus paragallinarum or Pasteurella multocida, microorganisms with similar morphologic and biochemical characteristics that produce clinical signs identical to those of ORT. All 25 strains of ORT tested with rep-PCR had a genetic profile similar to that of ORT American Type Culture Collection 51463, indicating the presence of only one genotype in the ORT strains studied.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1