The houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata undulata) is endangered in North Africa. Through a captive-breeding program established in Morocco by The Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation, wild populations are being supplemented by the releasing of captive-reared birds. Newcastle disease, which is caused by Newcastle disease virus (NDV; Avian paramyxovirus type 1), can infect houbara bustards and is a significant threat through contact with backyard poultry and possibly wild birds. Three vaccination schedules for Newcastle disease were evaluated by serologic monitoring to assess the efficiency and safety of various types of vaccines (live vs. inactivated), vaccine strains (Hitchner B1 and Clone 30), and administration routes (intranasal vs. injection). We evaluated antibody titers in 211 adult houbara bustards for 10 mo. Antibody titers to NDV in both sera and egg yolks were monitored by hemagglutination inhibition test. The inactivated vaccine provided a high, homogeneous, and durable serologic response in breeders; titers were higher than log2 11 after 4 wk and remained higher than log2 7 after 10 mo. The response to the two live vaccines was similar, and antibody titers did not exceed log2 6 at seroconversion. Maternally derived antibodies were efficiently transmitted in vitellus, further confirming that offspring of females hyperimmunized with the inactivated vaccine received high titers of maternal antibodies.
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Vol. 41 • No. 4