Response to aSalmonellaEnteritidis challenge in old laying hens with different vaccination histories

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Extending the laying period of laying hens is beneficial for economic and sustainability purposes. Because vaccines were designed with a shorter laying period envisaged, it is unclear whether current Salmonella vaccines can provide sufficient levels of protection against infection at an older age. The purpose of this experiment was to determine the efficacy of early rearing vaccination schemes against Salmonella challenge late in the laying period. There were four treatment groups: birds that had not been vaccinated (Group 1), birds vaccinated with live Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) (Group 2), with live and inactivated SE (Group 3), or with live SE and live Salmonella Typhimurium (Group 4). At the end of the laying period, the birds were transported from the laying farm to the research facility where they were orally challenged with 2.06 × 109 colony-forming units SE at around 82 wk of age. Hens were euthanized and bacteriology was performed on cecum, liver, spleen, and follicular fluid samples to determine SE colonization 7 and 14 d after challenge. Clinical and bacteriological findings of hens vaccinated with different vaccination schemes and the non-vaccinated control group were compared. No significant differences in SE colonization were found for vaccinated groups compared to the non-vaccinated control group. This may be a result of waning immunity due to the long time between vaccination and challenge. Also, as vaccination took place in the rearing period in the field, initial levels of immunity may not have been optimal due to shortcomings in the vaccination technique. Furthermore, the results of this study may have been affected by differences in age, breed, and origin between the groups. Therefore, controlled studies from early age onwards are necessary for more accurate comparisons between vaccines.

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