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The effects of oestrogen and progesterone on re-excretion of infectious bronchitis virus strain G (correction of strainG) in SPF chickens.

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University of Liverpool, Department of Veterinary Pathology, South Wirral, England.


The effects of oestrogen and progesterone on the re-excretion of IB virus strain G in chickens infected at day-old was evaluated in this study. Following infection of the chickens at day-old, the birds were swabbed regularly from the trachea and cloaca until no more virus was isolated from either site. Between 10 and 14 weeks of age oestrogen and progesterone were administered by intramuscular injection to infected or control chickens. An infected but non-hormone injected group was maintained. All the birds were monitored for virus re-excretion and/or increase in serum neutralising (SN) antibody levels during this period of treatment. Similar parameters, and the egg production of these birds were evaluated when they reached their natural sexual maturity. At the end of the experiment, the birds were sacrificed and their internal organs especially the reproductive organs were examined for any pathological lesions. The acute phase of the disease following infection at day-old was typical of IB virus infection in terms of clinical signs and virus excretions from trachea and cloaca [1]. The injected hormones failed to induce virus re-excretion as no virus was isolated during this period. There was no change in the level of antibody during this period either. However, when the hens attained their natural sexual maturity, IB virus was re-excreted by all the birds. Isolations was also more frequent from the cloaca than from the trachea. The SN antibody levels of individual showed no definite pattern to correspond with periods of re-excretion in the birds up to the end of the experiment. The control birds remained normal throughout the period of the study.

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