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Open Access A reovirus challenge model applicable in commercial broilers after live vaccination

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The efficacy of live reovirus vaccines may be determined by challenge via the foot pad route 3 to 4 weeks after vaccination. Swelling and discoloration in the foot pad and shank are scored for a period of 14 days. The major disadvantages of this challenge model are the subjective judgement of gross foot pad and/or shank lesions, that it is very difficult to induce lesions in broilers, and that it causes animal suffering. Other reovirus challenge models are based on reisolation of the virus from different tissues or on scoring microscopic lesions in the tendons. Some disadvantages of these models are that they either cannot be used after vaccination with live reovirus because they cannot discriminate between vaccine and challenge virus or that the microscopic lesions scored need not necessarily be related to the challenge virus but may have been induced by other factors. Therefore, we have attempted to develop a reovirus challenge model that was an improvement on the existing ones, using isolation of reovirus from different organs followed by specific detection of the challenge virus with a monoclonal antibody that can discriminate between challenge and vaccine virus.

The reovirus challenge model was examined in specific pathogen free (SPF) White Leghorn chickens and commercial broilers. In vivo studies were conducted to examine the efficacy of an attenuated reovirus vaccine in SPF White Leghorn chickens and commercial broilers with maternal immunity against reovirus. No challenge virus could be detected in any of the organs of the vaccinated chickens 3 and 10 days after challenge. In contrast, challenge virus could be isolated from the unvaccinated control group. At an increased challenge dose all unvaccinated challenge control birds were positive, while the vaccinated chickens were protected. It was shown that 1-day-old vaccination in the presence of maternal immunity was effective. It seemed that protection induced in broilers by the attenuated reovirus vaccine may not have been entirely humoral because in protected birds no antibodies against reovirus were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent at the time of challenge. Protection in these birds might therefore have been induced by cellular immunity.

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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Intervet International BV, P.O. Box 31, 5830 AA Boxmeer, The Netherlands; [email protected] 2: Intervet International BV, P.O. Box 31, 5830 AA Boxmeer, The Netherlands

Publication date: February 1, 2002

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