Previous studies demonstrated that Salmonella enteritidis infections in hens undergoing molt via feed withdrawal were more severe than in full fed hens. We conducted two trials to determine if immunizing specific-pathogen-free, Salmonella-culture-negative hens via aerosol exposure to MeganVac1™, a commercially available attenuated Salmonella typhimurium vaccine, would reduce transmission of S. enteritidis from infected hens to uninfected but contact-exposed hens during a molt. In trial 1, one group of hens received two aerosol doses of vaccine 2 wk apart whereas a second group of hens remained nonvaccinated. In trial 2, the vaccinated group received only one dose of vaccine. Two weeks after the final immunization, feed was removed from all the hens, and on day 4, the center hen in rows of 11 hens received a dose of 3 × 105 (trial 1) or 1.3 × 106 (trial 2). Transmission to the unchallenged hens was followed 3, 10, 17, and 24 days later. Vaccination reduced the horizontal spread of S. enteritidis in vaccinated hens compared with their nonvaccinated counterparts, with vaccinated hens shedding significantly less S. enteritidis on day 10 postchallenge in trial 1 and on days 3, 10, 17, and 24 in trial 2. Recovery of S. enteritidis from ovaries was significantly reduced in the vaccinated hens in trial 1 and from livers/spleens, ovaries, and cecum in trial 2. These studies indicate that immunization of hens with a live S. typhimurium vaccine could help reduce S. enteritidis problems during a molt situation.
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Vol. 47 • No. 3