Poultry Respiratory Protection
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Frédéric David, DVM

Welcome to the premier issue of the Journal of Poultry Respiratory Protection, or PRP, a new magazine published by the Global Poultry Business Unit of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

When we sat down to discuss the content of the first issue, it didn’t take long for us to agree that the primary focus should be infectious bronchitis (IB), a disease of major importance in chickens of all types and ages. Despite the availability of quality vaccines developed to control IB, the disease continues to compromise animal welfare and cause serious economic losses for producers.

Far-reaching effects

The adverse effects of IB are also far-reaching. In broilers, for example, the disease causes respiratory infection and leads to secondary bacterial infections that result in high morbidity and variable mortality; it also results in increased condemnations at slaughter.

In layers and breeders, IB often results in poor egg production or infertility. Some strains of IB also cause severe kidney damage. (See our interview with Aris Malo, DVM, on page 9, for more details.)

Control of IB is challenging because there are many types of IB viruses besides the Massachusetts serotype first described in the early 1900s. Some IB virus variants, such as D207 (D274) and D212 (D1466), have been around since the 1960s. In the early 1990s, a major new variant — 4/91 — was identified and continues to be an important respiratory pathogen throughout Europe and other regions of the world. In France, it is still the dominant variant IB virus. More recently, two other IB virus variants that have emerged in Europe are Italian 02 and QX (D388).

Poultry producers have asked whether a new vaccine needs to be developed to combat each new strain of IB virus that surfaces. However, Jane Cook, BSc, PhD — a well-known IB expert — doesn’t think so.

Strategic approach

In an article beginning on page 5, she notes that while various IB viruses differ antigenically, they still share many of the same antigens. Currently available vaccines should, therefore, protect against many IB viruses of different serotypes, she says. This strategic approach to vaccination is also more practical and less costly than developing a live-IB vaccine for each new variant that emerges.

As you consider new strategies for IB management, you might also want to become more familiar with what we call the “Protectotype” protocol. Both research and field experience show that using two existing IB vaccines based on different IB serotypes — for example, Nobilis IB Ma5, which is based on the original Massachusetts serotype, followed by Nobilis IB 4/91 — can provide broad protection against many IB variants. This, in turn, improves animal welfare and reduces the economic devastation that can occur due to IB outbreaks.

We hope this first edition of the Journal of Poultry Respiratory Protection enhances your understanding of IB variants and the tools that are available to control this costly disease. We’ll explore other respiratory topics in the future. For more information, please contact your Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health representative or contact me at [email protected]

Frédéric David, DVM

Global Marketing Director

Global Poultry Business Unit
Animal Health

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