Ostrich (Struthio camelus) chicks less
than 3 mo age are observed to experience a high
mortality rate that is often associated with enteritis.
This study was undertaken to investigate the infectious
bacteria implicated in ostrich chick enteritis. Postmortems
were performed on 122 ostrich chicks aged
from 1 d to 3 mo and intestinal samples were subjected
to bacterial culture. Bacterial isolates were typed
by PCR and serotyping. Escherichia coli (E. coli;
49%) was the most frequently isolated from the samples
followed by Clostridium perfringens (C. perfringens;
20%), Enterococcus spp. (16%), and Salmonella
spp. (7%). Of the E. coli, 39% were categorized
as enteropathogenic E. coli, 4% enterotoxigenic E.
coli, and no enterohaemorrhagic E. coli were found.The majority (93%) of C. perfringens was Type A
and only 7% was Type E. C. perfringens Types B
through D were not present. The netB gene that
encodes NetB toxin was identified from 16% of the
C. perfringens isolated. All the C. perfringens Type
E harbored the netB gene and just 10% of the C.
perfringens Type A had this gene. Three Salmonella
serotypes were identified: Salmonella Muenchen (S.
Muenchen; 80%), S. Hayindongo (13%), and S. Othmarschen
(7%). The indication is that the cause of
enteritis in ostrich chicks is bacterial-involving: enteropathogenic
E. coli and enterotoxigenic E. coli; C.
perfringens Types A and E (with the possible influence
of netB gene); and S. Muenchen, S. Hayindongo, and