A disease causing high morbidity and mortality was observed in young ostriches from six properties in southeast Queensland, Australia. The disease affected birds from 2-8 weeks of age and was characterised clinically by bright-green urates and pathologically by severe necrotic hepatitis. The liver lesions resembled those of vibrionic hepatitis in other avian species. Campylobacter coli was isolated from the livers of affected ostriches from five of the six properties. Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni was isolated from birds from the remaining property. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis-based (PFGE) typing of representative isolates indicated that trade of infected birds between farms was an important factor in the spread of C. coli. Phenotypic and genotypic data suggest a clonal variant of the principal outbreak type may account for the remaining cases from which C. coli was found. Conventional biochemical test results and PFGE clearly distinguished the C. jejuni strain isolated from the geographically remote farm from the outbreak of C. coli type. We believe this to be the first definitive report of avian hepatitis associated with C. coli.
- Campylobacter jejuni
- Campylobacter coli