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last updated: 26 Feb 2014
- Bacillus coli communis
Escherichia coli is one of the main species of bacteria that live in the lower intestines of mammals. They are necessary for the proper digestion of food and are part of the intestinal flora. The number of individual E. coli bacteria in the feces that one human passes in one day averages between 100 billion and 10 trillion. All the different kinds of fecal coli bacteria and all the very similar bacteria that live in the ground (in soil or decaying plants, of which the most common is Enterobacter aerogenes) are grouped together under the name coliform bacteria.
Colibacillosis is a common systemic disease of economic importance in poultry and occurs worldwide. Escherichia coli infection occurs as an acute fatal septicemia or subacute pericarditis and airsacculitis, as well as perihepatitis, arthritis, and also cellulitis. Among bacterial infections, colibacillosis is very often the first cause of morbidity and mortality in poultry. Large numbers of E. coli are maintained in the poultry house environment through fecal contamination. Systemic infection occurs when large numbers of pathogenic E. coli gain access to the bloodstream via the respiratory tract or intestine. Bacteremia progresses to septicemia and death, or the infection extends to serosal surfaces, pericardium, joints and other organs. Uncontrolled, avian E. coli represents a serious animal welfare concern and risk to public health as it is a zoonotic organism with avian E. coli species known to adapt to humans.