Globally, poultry producers report that birds well-vaccinated for Newcastle disease (ND) often present clinical disease and mortality after infection with virulent strains of Newcastle disease (vNDV), which is contrary to what is observed in experimental settings. One hypothesis for this discrepancy is that the birds in the field may be exposed to multiple successive challenges with vNDV, rather than one challenge dose, and that the repeated infection may overwhelm the immune system and neutralizing antibodies available to prevent clinical disease. In this study, we evaluated this hypothesis under highly controlled conditions. We challenged well-vaccinated chickens with high doses of vNDV daily for 10 days, and looked for signs of clinical disease, changes in antibody titers, and mortality. All sham-vaccinated birds died by the fourth day postchallenge. No morbidity or mortality was observed in any of the NDV-vaccinated birds up to 14 days postchallenge; repeated high-dose challenges of vNDV was not sufficient to overcome vaccine immunity.
Keywords: Newcastle disease virus; shedding; vaccination; vaccine; virulent challenge.