Researchers at Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health in the UK tested the safety and efficacy of a maternal vaccine for the passive protection of broiler chicks against necrotic enteritis.
The results were published in Avian Pathology.
Necrotic enteritis is a potentially fatal multifactorial disease of chickens, which under commercial conditions is often associated with increased levels of mortality and reduced bird performance. The safety and efficacy of a Clostridium perfringens type A alpha-toxoid (Netvax™) formulated as an oil emulsion was investigated, following maternal immunisation of broiler breeder hens, housed under commercial conditions, by the intramuscular route.
A total of 11,234 hens were vaccinated across two integrated poultry sites. The vaccine was safe with no systemic reactions or adverse effects on bird performance detected. Vaccination resulted in a significant increase in anti-alpha toxin antibody in the hen that was maintained throughout the study, and subsequently transferred to their progeny throughout the laying period via egg yolk.
Chicks hatched from eggs produced from vaccinated hens were shown to have reduced mortality specifically related to progeny flocks where gross gut lesions associated with necrotic enteritis were observed in control chicks. Further, whilst C. perfringens was isolated from control chicks with necrotic enteritis lesions, no such isolations were made at these time points from chicks from vaccinated hens.
[Source: Avian Pathol. 2010 Dec;39(6):489-97]