Experimental Chlamydia gallinacea infection in chickens does not protect against a subsequent experimental Chlamydia psittaci infection



Chlamydia psittaci was considered the predominant chlamydial species in poultry until Chlamydia gallinacea was discovered in 2009. C. psittaci is a zoonotic obligate intracellular bacterium reported in more than 465 bird species including poultry. In poultry, infections can result in asymptomatic disease, but also in more severe systemic illness. The zoonotic potential of C. gallinacea has yet to be proven. Infections in poultry appear to be asymptomatic and in recent prevalence studies C. gallinacea was the main chlamydial species found in chickens. The high prevalence of C. gallinacea resulted in the question if an infection with C. gallinacea might protect against an infection with C. psittaci. To investigate possible cross protection, chickens were inoculated with C. gallinacea NL_G47 and subsequently inoculated with either a different strain of C. gallinacea (NL_F725) or C. psittaci. Chickens that had not been pre-inoculated with C. gallinacea NL_G47 were used as a C. gallinacea or C. psittaci infection control. In the groups that were inoculated with C. psittaci, no difference in pharyngeal or cloacal shedding, or in tissue dissemination was observed between the control group and the pre-inoculated group. In the groups inoculated with C. gallinacea NL_F725, shedding in cloacal swabs and tissues dissemination was lower in the group pre-inoculated with C. gallinacea NL_G47. These results indicate previous exposure to C. gallinacea does not protect against an infection with C. psittaci, but might protect against a new infection of C. gallinacea.
Date made available21 Nov 2021
PublisherWageningen University & Research


  • Chlamydia
  • Cross immunity
  • Cross protection
  • Chickens

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