The protection elicited by a temperature-sensitive (Ts) mutant of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) vaccine against challenge with pathogenic strain was investigated. In Experiment 1, specific serologic response to ORT was detected in 12%–19% of Ts-vaccinated birds at 3 wk postvaccination by either drinking water or oculo-nasal instillation. At 7 days postchallenge, 100% of Ts-vaccinated turkeys of all groups were able to respond with an ORT-specific antibody response, but the control group was not, suggesting the potential of Ts strain to evoke immune protection. The study also revealed a statistically significant ability of the Ts strain to protect vaccinated turkeys against gross lesions caused by the pathogenic strain of ORT in treated groups vs. control.
In Experiment 2, seroconversion was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in birds after they were given the Ts strain in drinking water in field conditions. The results of the field study showed mean scores of gross lesions of nonvaccinated/challenged groups to be up to seven times higher than those of the vaccinated/challenged group. In addition, reisolation rates and quantification of ORT colonies per gram of lung tissue were significantly lower for vaccinated/challenged than for nonvaccinated/challenged turkeys. In conclusion, results from laboratory and field experiments suggest that use of the Ts mutant strain of ORT as a live vaccine would be a suitable method to evoke protection against ORT infection in turkeys.