Highlights• Transmission of E. coli was demonstrated in the broiler production.
• ST95, ST131 were the most frequently isolated STs from salpingitis in breeders.
• Twelve different STs were found in both breeders and broilers.
Escherichia coli is of major importance in industrial broiler production as the main cause of salpingitis and peritonitis in broiler breeders. Furthermore E. coli is the most common cause of first week mortality in broiler chickens. The aim of the present study was to investigate the transmission of E. coli, isolated from broiler breeders with salpingitis, to the progeny and the possibility of subsequent first week mortality. Four parent flocks were followed during the whole production period (20-60 weeks) by post mortem and bacteriological examination of randomly selected dead birds. Newly hatched chickens from each flock were swabbed in the cloaca on four occasions (parent age 30, 40, 50, 60 weeks) and E. coli was isolated. Causes of first week mortality were determined pathologically and bacteriologically. E. coli isolates from parents, newly hatched chickens and first week mortality were selected for Pulsed-Field-Gel-Electrophoresis (PFGE) and Multi-Locus-Sequence-Typing (MLST) to determine their clonal relationships. E. coli was the main cause of both salpingitis in parents and first week mortality in broilers, and E. coli dominated the bacterial flora of the cloaca of newly hatched chickens. PFGE of E. coli showed identical band patterns in isolates from the three different sources indicating a transmission of E. coli from parent birds to chickens. In conclusion, E. coli isolated from salpingitis in broiler parents were found to be transmitted to broilers in which some sequence types contributed to the first week mortality.Read here