SUMMARY.

Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) is an important bacterial pathogen of great economic significance to poultry production. This bacterium causes severe disease in chickens and turkeys worldwide. The objective of this study was to characterize ORT isolates from two different geographic locations in the United States by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). A total of 60 isolates were included in this study; 36 from California and 24 from Minnesota. All 60 isolates were confirmed to be ORT by PCR that targeted the 16S rRNA gene. The results of MLST revealed eight different sequence types (ST) of ORT. Out of these, four were novel and were assigned numbers ST-32, ST-33, ST-34, and ST-35. ST-1 was the predominant sequence type among all isolates followed by ST-9 and ST-8. Only one isolate was identified as ST-2. No significant variation was seen in STs in ORT isolated from different years. In turkeys, 76.3% (29/38) of isolates belonged to ST-1 and 7.9% (3/38) to ST-8. Of the chicken isolates, 72.2% (13/18) belonged to ST-1 and 16.6% (3/18) to ST-9. Isolates from both states showed low genetic variability. Of the 32 isolates from California, 24 (75%) were identified as ST-1 and 4 (12.5%) were identified as ST-9. The most prevalent sequence type was ST-1 (17/24) followed by ST-8 (3/24) in Minnesota. Three isolates from turkeys in Minnesota belonged to the same ST (ST-8) as the already known ORT strain RefO, which isolated from a rook in Germany in 2000. Whether this sequence type had evolved from wild birds could not be ascertained in this study.

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