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Oral vaccination of broiler chickens against necrotic enteritis using a non-virulent NetB positive strain of Clostridium perfringens type A.

Mishra, N;Smyth, JA;

Necrotic enteritis (NE) is a severe disease of chickens and turkeys caused by some strains of Clostridium perfringens type A. The disease is well controlled by the use of in-feed antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs). However, due to worldwide public and regulatory pressure to reduce the use of AGPs inter alia, there is an urgent need to develop non-antibiotic based preventative measures. Vaccination would be a suitable control measure, but currently there is no commercial vaccine. NetB (necrotic enteritis toxin B-like) is a pore-forming toxin produced by C. perfringens that has been reported as an important virulence factor in the pathogenesis of NE. The present study tests a non-virulent NetB producing strain of C. perfringens (nvNetB+), with or without adjuvants, as an orally administered live vaccine. Adjuvants used were Gel 01, Cholera toxin (CT), Escherichia coli wild type heat-labile holotoxin (LT) and mutant E. coli LT (dmLT) (R192G/L211A). Several vaccine administration regimes were tested. All vaccination regimes elicited serum and mucosal antibody responses to alpha toxin and to secreted proteins of both nvNetB+ and a very virulent NetB positive (vvNetB+) strain (p<0.0001 to p<0.05). In some vaccinated groups, there was milder intestinal pathology upon disease challenge. 55% of birds vaccinated orally at days 2, 12 with nvNetB+ adjuvanted with CT did not develop any lesions of NE by 6 days post challenge, compared to a 100% incidence of NE lesions in the unvaccinated disease challenged group.