Finding the answers to Gumboro prevention

Birds immune system is similar to that of mammals as they have evolved from a common ancestor. However, birds have a unique organ that plays a crucial role in their protection against external agents: the bursa of Fabricius.

This organ is necessary for the development of B lymphocytes and if it is damaged, this results in the immune suppression of the bird. One of the main causes of immune suppression in chickens is without any doubt Infectious bursal disease (IBD), more commonly known as Gumboro disease, which is still a global problem.

In 1957 in the Delaware peninsula, USA, a new disease emerged which was responsible for acute mortality in broilers.

In 1961, Cosgrove described it as a new disease of chickens and as the initial outbreaks occurred near a town named Gumboro, and he called it Gumboro disease.

By 1967, the highly infectious nature of the agent was recognized and the causal agent was characterized as a virus belonging to a new taxonomic group in 1976.

The IBD virus performs a lytic replication cycle in developing B lymphocytes of the bursa of Fabricius, affecting the immune system of young chicks. All this leads to an increased susceptibility to other infectious diseases and poor vaccine responses.

The first method of prevention was planned infections of chickens. This technique lowered IBD mortality but often resulted in immunosuppression and further dissemination of field virus.

Nowadays, vaccination programs include the use of live attenuated vaccines in broilers and layers and a combination of live and inactivated vaccines in breeders.

The vaccination of breeders is really important for the transmission of maternal immunity to their progeny, which protects the chicks from early immunosuppressive infections. Most commercially available live attenuated vaccines are based on classical virulent strains that could be neutralized by maternal antibodies.

For this reason, in order to help prevent IBD more effectively, new technologies and next-generation vaccines have been developed and introduced on to the market.

HIPRA has always been committed to Gumboro disease prevention since the start of its history with poultry vaccines.

  • In 1979 an inactivated vaccine from the Winterfield strain was launched in Spain.
  • This was followed in 1983 by a cloned live attenuated Winterfield vaccine. However, the nineties were complicated times as regards the control of IBD because of the circulation of very virulent strains.
  • In 2004 HIPRA was the first and only company in Europe to register a vaccine with an official claim against very virulent IBDV.
  • In 2019, HIPRA is launching its first immune-complex vaccine.
  • HIPRA also introduces its unique concept of Smart Vaccination to Gumboro prevention that will guarantee full traceability of the process of vaccination.


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