The virulence of four South African field isolates of NAD-dependent Haemophilus paragallinarum, representing the four serovars known to occur in that country, was investigated. During this study an alternative challenge model for infectious coryza was used, in which the infectivity as well the virulence of different isolates could be evaluated. The challenge model consisted of the direct challenge, via intrasinus injection of one chicken in a row of interconnected layer cages, containing 10 chickens, which are subsequently infected by natural routes. A scoring system of the clinical signs was established in which a score is given to the ability of the isolate to produce clinical signs in the challenge birds. The mean daily disease score for the flock can be calculated and plotted on a graph to give a graphic representation of the disease profile. A mean disease score, calculated over a 20-day examination period can be calculated. Isolates can then be compared to each other, either graphically or by a comparison of the mean disease scores. It has been demonstrated using this scoring system that the South African serogroup C isolates appear to be more virulent than the South African serogroup A or B isolates. It was further established that the serovar C-3 isolate appeared to be the most virulent.
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