A total of 147 clinical and environmental isolates of that included 14 , 60 and 73 strains was tested for haemolysin production and its correlation with enterotoxicity; 108 isolates produced β-haemolysis. For and , titres of haemolysin were 16–128 HU/ml and for , 16–64 HU/ml. In the ileal loop test, 82 (55.8%) strains of spp. produced enterotoxin. Of the β-haemolytic strains, 72.7% of , 58.6% of and 68.6% of isolates caused fluid accumulation in rabbit ileal loops. One strain each of α-haemolytic and , one of non-haemolytic and nine of non-haemolytic also caused a secretory response. The β-haemolytic strains caused significantly more (p < 0.05) fluid accumulation than the α- and non-haemolytic isolates regardless of their species designation. The remaining 65 (44.2%) isolates belonging to the three species included α-, β- and non-haemolytic strains: they failed to cause fluid accumulation in the initial experiments but did so after one to three consecutive passages through rabbit ileal loops. Two α- and 13 non-haemolytic strains switched to production of β-haemolysis when they showed positive ileal loop reactions. However, on repeated subcultures or on storage in the laboratory, all of them reverted to their original haemolytic character and no longer produced enterotoxic activity.


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