OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the Marek’s Disease Virus-1 vaccine (strain BH 16) from field studies in comparison with the CVI 988 Rispens vaccine currently available in Australia.
STUDY DESIGN: A small field trial was carried out on nine breeder flocks and a larger trial on 21 breeder flocks. All chickens were obtained from a commercial hatchery and each was vaccinated at hatch with cell-associated Herpes Virus of Turkeys vaccine. A group of chickens vaccinated with BH 16 vaccine was placed in one shed per property and the remainder were vaccinated with the Rispens vaccine and placed in the remaining sheds. At 25, 30, 35, and 40 weeks after hatch, the field veterinarian or farm manager examined all birds dying on two consecutive days in the designated placement sheds.
RESULTS: In the small trial there was a significantly lower incidence of MD in birds vaccinated with the MDV-1 vaccine compared with the Rispens vaccine (P < 0.001). In a larger trial there was no difference in the incidence of MD between the treatment groups, due possibly to a lower rate of natural challenge. Egg production results and average weekly mortality results for both groups were similar.
CONCLUSION: The present study describes an attenuated type 1 MD vaccine which is at least equivalent to a vaccine derived from the CVI 988 Rispens strain in terms of safety and efficacy when used in combination with HVT vaccine.