The susceptibility, immune response, and protection to challenge after vaccination in racing pigeons (Columbia livia) was assessed with the 2002–2003 exotic Newcastle disease (END) virus responsible for the most recent major outbreak in Southern California. Immunologically naïve pigeons appeared resistant to disease, regardless of dose, after a natural route of exposure. Twenty percent morbidity was observed in each group of birds receiving between 102.1 and 108.1 50% embryo infectious dose (EID50) per bird, with one bird succumbing to challenge in the 108.1 EID50/bird group at day 12 postinoculation. Although resistant to disease, birds in all groups continued to shed virus from either oral or cloacal route at the end of the 14-day sampling period, and seroconversion was only observed in birds receiving ≥106.1 EID50. Single or double vaccination of juvenile and adult birds with pigeon paramyxovirus virus type 1 (PPMV-1) vaccine followed by END challenge with 106.1 EID50/bird decreased the duration, incidence, and viral load. A positive correlation was observed between the presence of hemagglutination-inhibiting antibody titers at challenge and decreased viral shedding. Overt clinical signs of disease were not observed in any PPMV-1–vaccinated birds after challenge.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3