Bioscience

New insights into a leading poultry disease and its risks to human health

January 27, 2009

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: ScienceDaily] – Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University associate research scientist Melha Mellata, a member of professor Roy Curtiss’ team, is leading a USDA funded project to develop a vaccine against a leading poultry disease called avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC).

APEC is part of a large, diverse group of microbes called extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC). They cause a number of complex brain, lung and urinary tract diseases in human, animals, and birds. There is also considerable concern in the scientific community that APEC strains are becoming an emergent food pathogen. The poultry products are a suspected source of a suite of ExPEC infections, including those causing human disease.

The U.S. is the leading poultry industry in the world at an annual value of more than $50 billion, and E. coli infections are a big threat, causing millions in losses for the industry. According to the USDA, the two most common types of poultry infections are from the bacteria E. coli and Salmonella.

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