The present study was carried out for identification and molecular analysis of Yersinia enterocolitica isolated from fresh raw chicken meat samples. A total of 114 chicken meat samples were collected randomly from different chicken shops in the Kafr El- Sheikh city and tested by culturing and PCR methods. Twenty isolates out of 114 fresh raw chicken meat samples (17.5%) were found to be positive for Yersinia enterocolitica. Out of 57 chicken breast muscle samples 12 were positive (10.5% ) and in the same time only 8 positive samples detected in 57 chicken thigh muscle samples (7%) for isolation of Yersinia enterocolitica. A PCR-based assay was developed to detect the prevalence of Yersinia enterocolitica in chicken meat samples and to evaluate plasmid- and chromosome-borne virulence genes. The result of PCR examination revealed that, only 8 isolates out of 12 randomly selected isolates (66.6%) were positive as Yersinia enterocolitica by the specific gene of Yersinia enterocolitica (16S ribosomal RNA ). The results of detection of the virulence genes (ail, ystA and virF) were 75%, 50% and 37.5% respectively. These virulence genes were not detected in 2 examined isolates. The yadA gene was not detected in any of the 8 examined isolates by multiplex PCR technique. This study highlighted the importance of chicken meat as potential sources of pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica.
Key words: Yersinia enterocolitica, chicken meat, PCR techniques, virulence genes