The importance and prevention of the horizontal as well as the vertical transmission of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale were investigated. In our first experiment we observed that specific-pathogen-free broiler chickens that were placed in hatching incubators at a commercial turkey hatchery during hatch showed respiratory tract lesions at postmortem examination that were positive for O. rhinotracheale by bacteriology and immunohistology. It appeared that vertical transmission occurred and that horizontal transmission of O. rhinotracheale is possible. In a second experiment, the turkeys derived from vaccinated parents showed significantly fewer respiratory tract lesions at postmortem examination at 16 days of age than the birds derived from nonvaccinated parents. In a third experiment, all vaccinated young birds, regardless of the vaccination state of their parents, showed significantly fewer respiratory tract lesions at 6 wk of age. We concluded that vaccination of the breeders reduces vertical transmission and that vaccination of the progeny is needed to resist challenge at 6 wk of age.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2