1 Section of Poultry Diseases, Division of Poultry, Fish and Fur Animals, National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Division of Poultry, Fish and Fur Animals, National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark3 National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark4 Technical University of Denmark
Background: This study aimed at investigating a potential effect caused by coccidia on the immune response to vaccine- and very virulent infectious bursal disase virus (vvIBDV) in SPF chickens. Methods: Two groups of three weeks old SPF chickens were vaccinated prior to inoculation with coccidia and challenge with virulent IBDV, all within a period of eight days. Two control groups were similarly treated, except that challenge with field virus was omitted in one group while inoculation with coccidia was omitted in the other group. Clinical signs, lesions in the intestines caused by coccidia, lesions in the bursa of Fabricius caused by IBDV, IBDV-antibody titres, and virus detection by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were compared among the groups. Lymphoid tissues and swab samples were analysed by general RT-PCR, and positive results were identified by strain specific duplex (DPX) RT-PCR. Results: In the tripple-infected groups, vaccine strain IBDV was detected in spleen and thymus tissues, and no field virus was detected in bursa samples, contrary to the double-infected groups. Conclusion: The results suggest an enhancing effect on the immune response caused by subclinical coccidiosis and vvIBDV acting in concert.