A total of 117 samples were collected from individual cases of diseased rabbits showed respiratory signs (68 samples from nasopharyngeal swabs, 43 samples from lung tissues, 2 samples from subcutaneous abscesses swabs, 3 samples from liver swabs and 1 swab from the conjunctiva). During this study 11 Pasteurella multocida isolates were isolated with percentage of 9.4% as 7 isolates from nasal swabs (6%) and 4 isolates from lung tissues (3.4%). The samples examined phenotypically (morphology and biochemical characters of Pasteurella multocida) and tested by PCR technique for confirmatory identification and detected the presence of capsule, hemagglutinin and type IV fimbria genes as virulence factors. This study confirmed the presence of capsule in 100% of the examined samples (6/6) and hemagglutinin in 83.3% (5/6) examined samples and type IV fimbria in 33.3% (2/6) examined samples. It was concluded that all the examined Pasteurella multocida samples in this study were virulent and the multiplex-PCR protocols could be useful tools for rapid and simultaneous detection of Pasteurella multocida virulence genes.
Key words: Pasteurella multocida, virulence factors, capsule, hemagglutinin, type IV fimbria multiplex PCR.