The effects of avian leukosis virus subgroup J (ALV-J) infection on meat-type chickens reared in a simulated commercial setting were evaluated. Each of three ALV-J isolates was evaluated with both simulated horizontal transmission (SHT) and simulated vertical transmission (SVT). Mortality, morbidity, disease condemnations, and feed conversions were increased and body weights at processing were decreased in ALV-J infected birds as compared to sham inoculated hatch mates. The adverse effects of ALV-J infection were more severe in birds exposed by SVT than in birds exposed by SHT.
At 8 weeks of age response to vaccination for infectious bronchitis virus and Newcastle disease virus or prior exposure to a pathogenic reovirus was assessed in the ALV-J and sham inoculated broiler chickens by challenge studies. Although not statistically significant, an overall trend of decreased protection to challenge after vaccination, or prior exposure, was observed in the ALV-J inoculates as compared to sham inoculated hatch mates. Differences in vaccine response were most evident in groups inoculated with ALV-J by the SVT route.