Escherichia coli (E. Coli) is a gram-negative, non-acid-fast, uniform staining, non-spore-forming bacillus that grows both aerobically and anaerobically. E. coli is considered to be a normal part of he microflora of the intestines of poultry. However, certain strains, such as those referred to as avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC), spread into various internal organs and cause a variety of diseases, which are collectively referred to as Colibacillosis. APEC strains are often resistant to many antibiotics, including cephradine, chloramphenicol, sulfonamides, amino-glycosides, tetracyclines, and beta-lactam antibiotics.
Transmission: E. coli are commonly found in fecal matter and lower intestinal tract of warm-blooded organisms. Shedding of E. coli in feces makes this microorganism abundantly available in the environment. Rodents are often carriers of APEC, and serve as a source of contamination to flocks.
Survival in environment: Decline rate increases at high pH in manure. The availability of resources such as carbon substrates probably is the main critical factor that affects the persistence of E. coli in open environments such as soil and water.