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The gram positive anaerobic C. perfringens has been shown to be widespread among poultry farms, especially after the ban of antibiotic growth promoters in the EU in 2006. In the present study we monitored the incidence of C. perfringens in commercial turkey and layer flocks reared in various locations in Germany.
615 boot swabs from turkey flocks and 485 samples from layer flocks were investigated bacteriologically for the presence of C. perfringens and further identified for presence of major and minor toxines using PCR. The samples had been collected from apparently healthy flocks in the frame of the salmonella surveillance program. In 179 (29.1%) boot swabs from turkey flocks and in 134 (27.6%) samples from layers C. perfringens was detected. Toxovar A was the predominant toxovar (74.1% in turkeys and 88.7% in layers), followed by toxovar D (23.8% in turkeys and 7.3% in layers). Minor toxin genes were found in 28.7% of isolates from turkeys and in 32.3% of the isolates from layers.