Classification, pathogenicity, and drug susceptibility of hemolytic gram-negative bacteria isolated from sick or dead chickens.
Fifteen hemolytic gram-negative bacteria were isolated from the respiratory tracts of sick birds suffering from a long-lasting respiratory syndrome or from the bone marrow of dead birds distributed in the southern part of Taiwan. These were classified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (10 isolates), Pseudomonas fluorescens (2 isolates), Pseudomonas stutzeri (1 isolate), Pasteurella haemolytica (1 isolate), and Proteus morganii (1 isolate). Each isolate was inoculated intraperitoneally into one group of ten 4-week-old male white leghorn chickens. Mortality and lesions were scored daily for 1 week. Three of the 10 isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa caused 100% mortality. Six other isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the one isolate of Proteus morganii caused 50% mortality. The remaining isolates induced less than 30% mortality. The sole nonpathogenic sample was one isolate of Pseudomonas fluorescens. When therapeutic levels of 22 antibiotics or sulfa drugs were evaluated for their inhibitory activity against the 15 isolates, the most effective were apramycin (15/15), gentamicin (15/15), spectinomycin (13/15), oxytetracycline (8/15), and sulfachloropyrazine (7/15). The least effective were ampicillin, cloxacillin, and tiamulin, which were not effective against any of the isolates. The 14 other drugs were of very low (> 4/15) effectiveness. Most of the isolates studied were virulent for chickens and very resistant to currently used drugs.