Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) is a highly contagious respiratory disease of chickens that produces significant economic losses to the poultry industry. The disease is caused by Gallid alpha herpesvirus-1 (GaHV-1), commonly known as the infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV). Vaccination remains necessary for the control of the disease. Due to the inherent virulence of live attenuated vaccines, in particular that of the chicken embryo origin (CEO) vaccines, the use of ILT viral vector recombinant vaccines has significantly expanded worldwide as a safer vaccination strategy. However, the protective efficacy of recombinant ILT vaccines can be compromised by the use of fractional doses and improper handling and administration of the vaccine. The objective of this study was twofold: 1) to evaluate the protection efficacy induced by a commercial recombinant HVT-LT (rHVT-LT) vaccine when administered in ovo to broilers at three standardized doses (6000 plaque-forming units [PFU], 3000 PFU, and 1000 PFU), and 2) to assess the potential of rHVT-LT–vaccinated chickens to spread virus to contact chickens after challenge. Independently of the vaccine dose, vaccinated chickens showed reduction in clinical signs, maintained body weight gain after challenge, and lessened the challenge virus replication in the trachea at a rate of 52%–65%. However, in spite of this reduction, transmission of challenge virus from rHVT-LT–vaccinated (6000/Ch, 3000/Ch) to contact-naive chickens was evident. This study is the first to support that rHVT-LT vaccination did not prevent spread of challenge virus to contact birds.
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Vol. 63 • No. 2