Isolation of Escherichia coli O86:K61 producing cyto-lethal distending toxin from wild birds of the finch family

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Escherichia coli was recovered from selected tissues of 43 out of a total of 46 finches found dead in the Scottish Highlands during April-May of 1994 and 1995. The isolates did not ferment sorbitol, rhamnose, sucrose or melibiose; they belonged to serogroup O86:K61, produced cytolethal distending toxin (CLDT) and possessed theeae gene sequence. The consistent recovery of organisms producing CLDT and possessing the eae gene suggests that these organisms may have played a significant role in the finch mortalities.

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