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  • 1 Chonbuk National University Veterinary Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine and Bio-Safety Research Institute Jeonju 561-756 Republic of Korea
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To investigate the association of pathogenic Escherichia coli fimbrial adhesins with the development of diarrhoea in piglets of different age groups and to test their relative competitiveness, piglets were orally inoculated with a mixture of E. coli strains harbouring F4, F5, F6, F18 and F41 fimbrial genes. A total of 537 E. coli strains with haemolytic activity were isolated from 36 diarrhoeic piglets. The F4 fimbrial gene was observed in 98.5%, 97.6% and 80.6% strains carrying fimbrial genes isolated from diarrhoeic piglets that were infected at 1, 3 and 5 weeks of age, respectively. These data demonstrate that F4 fimbriae are highly associated with diarrhoea in piglets of all age groups. Interestingly, the F18 fimbrial gene was observed in 2.4% and 25.4% strains carrying fimbrial genes isolated from the 3- and 5-week-old groups, respectively, which confirms that F18 fimbriae are associated with diarrhoea in piglets from late stages of suckling to post-weaning, and are more related to diarrhoea in weaned than in unweaned piglets.

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