Abstract: The role of the chicken as a source of verotoxin producing Escherichia coli O157 was studied in Morogoro, Tanzania. Intestinal contents of slaughtered chickens (n = 120) in restaurants selling chicken dishes in Morogoro were analyzed for STEC including E. coli O157. The isolates were tested for shiga toxin (stx1 and stx2), enterohaemolysin (ehly A) and attachment and affacing (eae A) genes by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Eleven of 120 samples examined 9.6% were positive for E. coli O157. Other bacterial agents such as Proteus sp., Pseudomonas sp. and coliforms were isolated in this study; all VTEC isolates produced both verotoxins (ST1 and ST2). Based on the Reverse Passive Latex Agglutination Assay (RPLA). The isolates were subjected to PCR for the detection of stx1, stx 2, eae A and ehly A genes. None of the E. coli O157 strains isolated showed the presence of stx 1, stx2, Ehly A and eae A genes by PCR. The antibiotic susceptibility tests showed that the isolates were susceptible to most of the antimicrobial agents tested. This study is the first attempt to investigate VTEC O157 prevalence in chickens in Tanzania. The chicken can be considered as an important carrier of VTEC in Tanzania but its pathogenicity for humans in this environment is questionable based on the presence of low virulence factors in these isolates. There is a need for further studies to elucidate on the role of chickens in the maintenance and transmission of VTEC O157 to humans in Tanzania.
M.A. Raji , U.M. Minga and R.S. Machang’u , 2006. Prevalence and Characterization of Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157 Isolated from Local Chicken in Morogoro, Tanzania. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 5: 952-958.