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Leading Research

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Assessment of the efficacy of autogenous vaccines in Spotty Liver Disease control

Assessment of the efficacy of autogenous vaccines in Spotty Liver Disease control

This project demonstrated that autogenous vaccination of Campylobacter hepaticus can produce a measurable humoral immune response in layer hens. This humoral response is related to some level of protection against Spotty Liver Disease.

Leading research

Spotty Liver Disease (SLD) is a serious condition affecting extensively housed laying hens, leading to losses through both bird mortality and reduced egg production. The causative agent of Spotty Liver Disease was described in 2015 and named Campylobacter hepaticus (Crawshaw et al.).

The aim of this project was to assess the efficacy of autogenous vaccines in controlling Spotty Liver Disease in the field. 

Autogenous vaccines were created using Campylobacter hepaticus isolates HV10 and 44L, and using an exposure model previously developed by RMIT and Scolexia Pty Ltd trials were conducted in the laboratory and field. 

The project demonstrated that autogenous vaccination of Campylobacter hepaticus can produce a measurable humoral immune response in layer hens. This humoral response is related to some level of protection against Spotty Liver Disease.  

During the course of this project, tools for the assessment of SLD control have been developed and refined, including:
- a full description of the causal organism
- the development of an effective challenge model
- some understanding of the differences in virulence and the culture requirements of different strains of C. hepaticus
- development of an ELISA assay to measure serological response and;
- an increased understanding of the disease.

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