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Are wetlands the reservoir for avian cholera?

January 1, 2004

Wetlands have long been suspected to be an important reservoir for Pasteurella multocida and therefore the likely source of avian cholera outbreaks. During the fall of 1995a??98 we collected sediment and water samples from 44 wetlands where avian cholera epizootics occurred the previous winter or spring. We attempted to isolate P. multocida in sediment and surface water samples from 10 locations distributed throughout each wetland. We were not able to isolate P. multocida from any of the 440 water and 440 sediment samples collected from these wetlands. In contrast, during other investigations of avian cholera we isolated P. multocida from 20 of 44 wetlands, including 7% of the water and 4.5% of the sediment samples collected during or shortly following epizootic events. Our results indicate that wetlands are an unlikely reservoir for the bacteria that causes avian cholera.

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