the pathogenicity of escherichia coli strains is partially related to the expression of virulence factors genes, present in genetic elements called plasmids. apec strains responsible for diseases in birds may present the iss gene which increases the resistance of e. coli strains to the lityc effect of the host's serum, besides resistance to several antimicrobials. this study was conduced in order to detect e. coli in tracheae of meat-type quails and to evaluate, by the presence of the iss gene and the profile of antimicrobial susceptibility, the pathogenic potential of the isolated samples for birds and humans. one hundred and eighty tracheae of quails were collected for detection of e. coli, antimicrobial sensitivity tests, and for polymerase chain reaction (pcr), for detection of iss gene. from the examined quails, 8.9 % (16/180) were positive for e. coli, from which 20 strains of this bacterium were obtained. most of them were resistant to tetracycline (16/20), followed by ceftadizime (13/20) and nalidixic-acid (12/20) and only one isolate was resistant to amoxicillin. the detection of iss gene occurred in 55% (11/20) of the isolates, indicating that these strains had the potential to be pathogenic not only for quails, but also for other kinds of birds, other animals and even human beings that would be in contact with these e. coli isolates.