Severity of the tracheal histologic inflammatory response induced in broilers by ocular inoculation of two infectious bronchitis (IBV) and three Newcastle disease virus (NDV) commercial vaccines were evaluated. The vaccine was delivered by eye drop with a coarse spray to day-old chicks. The vaccines were given individually or in various combinations and were evaluated relative to nonvaccinated controls. Evaluations were performed on postvaccination (PV) days 7 and 14. Histologic endpoints included semiquantitative severity scoring of inflammatory components and quantitative morphometric determinations of inflammatory cell concentration, mucosal thickness, and percentage of ciliated mucosal surface. Strong positive correlations were observed between routine severity scoring and morphometric inflammatory parameters, whereas a negative correlation was present between inflammation severity and the percentage of mucosal ciliation. Variable, sometimes extensive, and often statistically significant differences in inflammatory responses were observed between the various vaccines. One IBV Massachusetts strain vaccine (IBV-A) produced the greatest overall inflammatory response when given alone or in combination with the NDV vaccines. Enhancement of tracheitis was seen on PV day 14 by covaccination of IBV-A with the NDV vaccines, but not by covaccination of another IBV Massachusetts strain vaccine (IBV-B) with NDV. Reduction in cilia percentage was observed for all vaccine groups relative to controls on PV day 7. However, although reactive cilia regeneration occurred on PV day 14 for most vaccine groups, a cilia regenerative response was not apparent for individual or NDV combination vaccination for IBV-A. The study also demonstrates that substantial microscopic trachea pathology may be present in vaccinated birds not exhibiting apparent clinical respiratory signs.

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