Re-emerging fowlpox: Evaluation of isolates from vaccinated flocks
Vaccines of fowlpox or pigeonpox virus origin have been routinely used for more than half a century to prevent fowlpox in commercial poultry in areas where the disease is endemic. However, in recent years, outbreaks of fowlpox have occurred in previously vaccinated flocks. One possible explanation for this problem is the emergence of variant strains of fowlpox virus (FPV). A second, not mutually exclusive, postulate is that the novel FPV exhibit enhanced virulence due to the integration of
... integration of avian reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV) into their genomes. To determine if immunological variance and/or the acquisition of REV nucleotide sequences could be responsible for the ineffectiveness of current vaccines, the ability of two commercial vaccine viruses and four, recently isolated, field strains to protect chickens against challenge with one of the more virulent field viruses was evaluated. Adequate protection was provided by the vaccines and two of the four field isolates. Interestingly, the two isolates that were not protective, as well as the challenge strain, failed to elicit a strong humoral antibody response. As to possible REV participation, an antibody response to this virus was only found in those chickens receiving one of the "protective" field strains, despite the presence of REV coding sequences in all four field viruses. While REV long terminal repeats of variable lengths were detected in the genomes of all FPV strains used in this study, only the DNAs of the field strains appeared to have intact REV provirus. This retention of foreign DNA may enhance the pathogenesis of FPV, although other factors may be involved.