Effect of Pullet Vaccination on Development and Longevity of Immunity

Viruses. 2019 Feb 2;11(2):135. doi: 10.3390/v11020135.


Avian respiratory disease causes significant economic losses in commercial poultry. Because of the need to protect long-lived poultry against respiratory tract pathogens from an early age, vaccination programs for pullets typically involve serial administration of a variety of vaccines, including infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV). Often the interval between vaccinations is only a matter of weeks, yet it is unknown whether the development of immunity and protection against challenge when vaccines are given in short succession occurs in these birds, something known as viral interference. Our objective was to determine whether serially administered, live attenuated vaccines against IBV, NDV, and ILTV influence the development and longevity of immunity and protection against challenge in long-lived birds. Based on a typical pullet vaccination program, specific-pathogen-free white leghorns were administered multiple live attenuated vaccines against IBV, NDV, and ILTV until 16 weeks of age (WOA), after which certain groups were challenged with IBV, NDV, or ILTV at 20, 24, 28, 32, and 36 WOA. Five days post-challenge, viral load, clinical signs, ciliostasis, tracheal histopathology, and antibody titers in serum and tears were evaluated. We demonstrate that pullets serially administered live attenuated vaccines against IBV, NDV, and ILTV were protected against homologous challenge with IBV, NDV, or ILTV for at least 36 weeks, and conclude that the interval between vaccinations used in this study (at least 2 weeks) did not interfere with protection. This information is important because it shows that a typical pullet vaccination program consisting of serially administered live attenuated vaccines against multiple respiratory pathogens can result in the development of protective immunity against each disease agent.

Keywords: Infectious bronchitis virus; Newcastle disease virus; antibody response; ciliostasis; immunity; infectious laryngotracheitis virus; respiratory disease; vaccination program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Chickens
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Female
  • Herpesviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Herpesviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Herpesvirus 1, Gallid
  • Infectious bronchitis virus
  • Longevity*
  • Newcastle disease virus
  • Poultry Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Poultry Diseases / virology
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Vaccination / veterinary
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / therapeutic use
  • Viral Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Vaccines, Attenuated
  • Viral Vaccines