Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of irradiated Salmonella Gallinarum against homologous challenge infection in Bovans brown chickens
Fowl typhoid is a systemic poultry disease caused by Salmonella Gallinarum (SG). It is responsible for significant economic loss, due to its severe morbidity and mortality. An irradiated vaccine is one of the possible alternatives to prevent and control fowl typhoid. This study aimed to evaluate the safety, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy of irradiated SG using a randomized control trial in chicken. A field strain of SG was exposed to different doses of gamma irradiation to determine its effect on the viability of SG. Safety and immunogenicity were assessed by administering irradiated SG orally to 3 groups (5 each) of 5 weeks old Bovans brown chickens at 2400, 2500, and 2600 gray (Gy). The protective efficacy of 108colony forming units (CFU) of SG irradiated at 2400 Gy administered orally and subcutaneously was then evaluated using homologous challenge infection and compared with SG 9R commercial vaccine using 40, 5-week old Bovans brown chickens where the chickens were randomly assigned to 4 groups. Chickens in Group 1were exposed to 108 CFU of irradiated SG orally; Group 2 to the same dose subcutaneously; Group 3 to SG 9R strain commercial vaccine subcutaneously, Group 4 to phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) orally. Data related to survival, antibody response, and pathological lesions were recorded. Mann-Whitney U-test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and Fisher’s exact tests were used to examine for statistical significance. Irradiation at 2600 Gy caused complete inactivation of SG whereas SG exposed to 2400 Gy showed better immunogenicity and was safe for chickens. Antibody response in a group of chickens vaccinated with irradiated SG administered subcutaneously (SC) was significantly higher than those vaccinated with the SG 9R vaccine on day 7 (p=0.003) and day 14 (p=0.002) post-immunization. Comparative evaluation of the protective efficacy based on the mortality rate of chickens after challenge showed that 2400 Gy irradiated SG vaccine administered SC and SG 9R vaccine-induced equal protection of 50% while the irradiated vaccine administered orally protected only 10% of chickens against homologous challenge infection. SG was not isolated from the liver, spleen, and feces of chickens that survived challenge infection until the end of the experiment. Irradiated SG administered SC is shown to be a promising vaccine against fowl typhoid. Further studies using a large sample size involving tuning of irradiation dose to improve immunogenicity and use of booster vaccination are recommended.
Keywords: Chicken; Fowl typhoid; Gamma irradiation; Salmonella Gallinarum; Vaccine