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Epidemiol Infect. 2005 Dec;133(6):959-78.

Vaccination and early protection against non-host-specific Salmonella serotypes in poultry: exploitation of innate immunity and microbial activity.

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Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium.


A recent European Union Directive required member states to put monitoring and control programmes in place, of which vaccination is a central component. Live Salmonella vaccines generally confer better protection than killed vaccines, because the former stimulate both cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Administering Salmonella bacteria orally to newly hatched chickens results in extensive gut colonization and a strong adaptive immune stimulus but broiler chickens are immunologically immature. However, colonization exerts a variety of rapid (within 24 h) protective effects. These include specific colonization-inhibition (competitive exclusion) in which the protective bacteria exert a profound resistance to establishment and colonization by other related bacteria. This is thought to be primarily a metabolic attribute of the vaccinating bacteria but may also involve competition for attachment sites. The presence of large numbers of bacteria originating from a live Salmonella vaccine in the intestine can also induce infiltration of polymorphonuclear cells into the intestinal wall, which confers resistance to invasion and systemic spread by virulent Salmonella strains. This opens new perspectives for vaccine usage in broilers, layers and breeding poultry but also in other animals which show increased susceptibility to infection because of their young age or for other reasons, such as oral chemoprophylaxis or chemotherapy, where the lack of established normal gut flora is an issue. We recommend that all live vaccines considered for oral administration should be tested for their ability to induce the two protective effects described above. Further developments in live Salmonella vaccines are, however, currently hindered by fears associated with the use and release of live vaccines which may be genetically modified.

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