The pathogenicity induced by co-challenge with the rB strain of very virulent Infectious bursal disease virus (vvIBDV) and IBDV pathotypes endemic in the United States was evaluated in specific pathogen-free chickens. Four- and 6-week-old birds were simultaneously challenged with a 105 50% egg infectious dose (EID50) of rB mixed with a 105 EID50 of one of the following viruses: standard classic (STC), subclinical variant (Del-E), subclinical variant (T1), or avirulent serotype 2 (OH). Each challenge group consisted of 5 chickens. The severity of disease was assessed by comparing the 5-day mortality rates, bursal lesions (mean bursal lesion scores), and mean bursal-to-body weight ratios in each of the challenged groups. A mortality of 100% (10/10 and 5/5) was observed in birds inoculated with only the vvIBDV (rB) strain at 4 weeks and 6 weeks of age, respectively. Although the sample sizes were low, a significant reduction in mortality and severity of disease, based on mean bursal lesion scores, was observed in groups co-challenged with rB and the less virulent pathotypes Del-E, T1, or OH at 4 weeks of age. Co-challenge with rB and the antigenically similar STC strain did not result in a significant decrease in mortality compared to challenge with the pathogenic rB strain at 4 weeks of age, but a significant reduction in the mean bursa lesion score was observed. At 6 weeks of age, a significant decrease in mortality and mean bursa lesion score was observed in the rB groups co-challenged with STC, Del-E, or T1 but not OH.
- very virulent Infectious bursal disease virus
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