Newcastle disease is an economically important disease of poultry for which vaccination is applied as a preventive measure in many countries. Nevertheless, outbreaks have been reported in vaccinated populations. This suggests that either the vaccination coverage level is too low or that vaccination does not provide perfect immunity, allowing the virus to spread in partially vaccinated populations. Here we study the requirements of an epidemiologically effective vaccination program against Newcastle disease in poultry, based on data from experimental transmission studies. The transmission studies indicate that vaccinated birds with low or undetectable antibody titres may be protected against disease and mortality but that infection and transmission may still occur. In fact, our quantitative analyses show that Newcastle disease virus is highly transmissible in poultry with low antibody titres. As a consequence, herd immunity can only be achieved if a high proportion of birds (>85%) have a high antibody titre (log2 haemagglutination inhibition titre ¿3) after vaccination. We discuss the implications for the control of Newcastle disease in poultry by vaccination.
- avian influenza