Infectious bronchitis: Better diagnostics key to more effective vaccination
Identification of variant infectious bronchitis viruses (IBVs) has improved with the development of a real-time PCR (qPCR) test that can distinguish the type of virus and determine if it’s vaccine- or field-related.
The test will enable producers to select more appropriate vaccines for the IBV variants circulating in specific areas, leading to better control of IBV, Dr. Mark Jackwood, PhD, head of the Department of Population Health at the Poultry Diagnostic Research Center (PDRC), University of Georgia, told Poultry Health Today.
Previous tests could only reveal whether infectious bronchitis virus was present or not. Surveillance with the new qPCR test, available at PDRC, will enable poultry companies to better plan their vaccination programs, Jackwood said.
IBV is an RNA virus and is prone to change, creating new strains. Poor vaccination technique can allow field viruses to replicate and change, he continued. Examples of poor vaccination technique include malfunctioning hatchery vaccination equipment, cutting the vaccine dosage that should be used or using the wrong vaccine at the wrong time.
Jackson also addressed bacterial infections secondary to IBV infections. By stopping IBV, producers can also stop the secondary infections that commonly occur, leading to condemnations and generally a lot of losses for producers, he said.
“We’re going to have to do an even better job now of controlling the primary pathogens like IBV with the vaccines that we have available because our tools downstream [such as antibiotics] to treat the secondary pathogens like an Escherichia coli are going to be limited,” he said. “We have to…do a much better job of vaccinating.”