Poultry in Poland as Chlamydiaceae carrier
Introduction: The study was conducted to investigate the prevalence and genetic diversity of Chlamydia spp. in poultry in Poland and estimate possible transmission to humans. Material and Methods: Molecular diagnostic methods followed by sequencing and strain isolation were used on cloacal/faecal swabs collected from 182 apparently healthy poultry flocks including chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. Serum samples obtained from people exposed (study group) and non-exposed (control group) to birds were tested by complement fixation test to acquire data on Chlamydia spp. antibody level. Results: Overall, 15.9% of the tested flocks were Chlamydiaceae-positive and three Chlamydia spp. were identified. Predominant chlamydial agent found was C. gallinacea occurring in 65.5% of all positive poultry flocks and in 73.0% of positive chicken flocks. The sequences from four chicken flocks were assigned to C. abortus, whereas C. psittaci was confirmed in one duck and one goose flock. The analysis of ompA variable domains revealed at least nine genetic variants of C. gallinacea. Chlamydial antibodies were detected in 19.2% of human serum samples in the study group in comparison with 10.8% in the controls. Conclusion: The obtained results confirm that chlamydiae are common among chicken flocks in Poland with C. gallinacea as a dominant species. Moreover, the presence of C. abortus in chickens is reported here for the first time. Further investigation should focus on possible zoonotic transmission of C. gallinacea and C. abortus as well as potential pathogenic effects on birds’ health and poultry production.