Seventy five bacteria tentatively identified as Haemophilus paragallinarum (the causative agent of infectious coryza), eight identified as Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale and 13 identified as NAD-independent Pasteurella species were isolated from chickens with respiratory infection in various provinces in South Africa. The isolates were characterized by conventional biochemical and serological methods. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay specific for H. paragallinarum was used to identify the cultures directly from colonies. The PCR assay gave positive results for all isolates that were identified by conventional methods as H. paragallinarum, irrespective of whether they were nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent (43 isolates) or NAD-independent (32 isolates). The eight isolates that were identified by conventional methods as O. rhinotracheale and the 13 isolates identified as various Pasteurella species gave negative results in the PCR assay. This study has demonstrated that colony PCR is a rapid method for uniquely identifying both NAD-dependent and NAD-independent strains of H. paragallinarum and distinguishing them from other bacteria, such as O. rhinotracheale and Pasteurella species.
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