The reemergence of infectious coryza (IC) caused by Avibacterium paragallinarum (AP) as an acute and occasionally chronic respiratory disease in domestic poultry has caused severe losses in several U.S. states. The disease is also associated with decreased egg production in layers and increased condemnations from air sac infections in broilers. A series of applied experiments were performed to elucidate the persistence of AP in infected broiler flocks, to genotype AP strains isolated from field cases, and to evaluate commercial and autogenous vaccine protection in commercial and specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chickens. Experimental evaluation of environmental persistence suggests that AP did not persist more than 12 hr in a hypothetically contaminated environment. Additionally, other detected potential pathogens such as Gallibacterium anatis and infectious bronchitis virus caused mild respiratory signs in the exposed birds. The HMTp210 and HagA genes of four IC field strains were sequenced and compared with published sequences of HMTp210 and HagA. The HMTp210 phylogeny showed a marginally imperfect clustering of the sequences in genogroups A, B, and C. Although not definitive, this phylogeny provided evidence that the four field strains aligned with previously characterized serovar C strains. Moreover, the base pair homology of the four strains was 100% identical to serovar C reference strains (H-18 and Modesto). HagA phylogeny was unclear, but interestingly, the IC field strains were 100% homologous to C-1 strains reported from Mexico and Ecuador. Finally, vaccine protection studies in commercial hens indicate that clinical signs are induced by a combination of IC and other concomitant pathogens infecting commercial birds. Additionally, vaccine protection experiments performed in SPF hens indicated that protection provided by the two commercial vaccines tested provided a reduction in clinical signs and bacterial shedding after two applications.
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Vol. 64 • No. 2