Transovarian Transmission of Hemagglutination-Inhibition Antibody to St. Louis Encephalitis Virus in Chickens

James O. BondEncephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Florida

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Florence Y. LewisEncephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Florida

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Wm. L. JenningsEncephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Florida

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Ingrid E. MacLeodEncephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Florida

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Summary

The transovarian passage of hemagglutination-inhibition (HI) antibodies to St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus was studied in 18 naturally infected hens and 51 of their chicks. HI antibody was readily detected in the 24-hour-old chick in quantitative relationship to maternal antibody titers. The loss of this inhibitor was an exponential function of time, and was below detectable levels at the 4th week.

Serum-neutralizing antibody studies on the hens indicated the SLE-HI inhibitor was specific antibody. In contrast, the Eastern encephalitis-HI inhibitor appeared to be a non-specific substance related to the ovulatory activity of the bird.

The interpretation of SLE-HI antibodies in chicks under 4 weeks of age requires consideration of the presence of maternal antibody as a contributing cause.

Author Notes

The authors are Director, Chief Serologist, Chief Biologist, and Statistician, respectively, of the Encephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Fla.

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