ISOLATION AND PREVALENCE OF ESCHERICHIA COLI IN WILD ANIMALS AT THE NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN JOS, NIGERIA
AbstractThere had been reports of infectious diarrhea leading to death of wild animals at the National Zoological Garden Jos, Nigeria which could possibly be due to E. coli. The presence of the zoonotic infection puts the animals, staff, visitors and the general public at risk of contracting the bacteria which could lead to death of wildlife, economic losses, wildlife conservation issues, human sickness, expenditure on treatments or death of man or animals. The record of surveillance of E. coli in Nigeria is limited. The study sought to determine the presence and prevalence of E. coli in the zoo. 160 faecal samples were collected over a period of three months and analysed for E. coli using the conventional biochemical tests and confirmation was done using the Microbact GNB 12E. Seventy seven (48.1%) isolates showed reactions presumptive of E. coli after the conventional biochemical tests while 58 (36.3%) were confirmed after testing with Microbact GNB 12E. The confirmed isolates were from primates 18, carnivores 5, herbivores 5, birds 28, and reptiles 2. There was a statistically significant association (p<0.05) between the different classes of animals and the isolation of E. coli. There was also a statistically significant association (p<0.05) between the occurrence of E. coli and months of sample collection. The occurrence and high prevalence of E. coli implies the organism could be the cause of infectious diarrhoea and death in the zoo, while staff and as many as visit the zoo are at risk of contracting the organisms from the animals or other contaminated objects which could lead to human death and epidemics.