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Campylobacter infections sourced mainly to poultry products, are the most important bacterial foodborne zoonoses worldwide. No effective measures to control these infections in broiler production exist to date. Here, we used passive immunization with hyperimmune egg yolks to confer broad protection of broilers against Campylobacter infection. Two novel vaccines, a bacterin of thirteen Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) and C. coli strains and a subunit vaccine of six immunodominant Campylobacter antigens, were used for the immunization of layers, resulting in high and prolonged levels of specific immunoglobulin Y (IgY) in the hens' yolks. In the first in vivo trial, yolks (sham, bacterin or subunit vaccine derived) were administered prophylactically in the broiler feed. Both the bacterin- and subunit vaccine-induced IgY significantly reduced the number of Campylobacter-colonized broilers. In the second in vivo trial, the yolks were administered therapeutically during three days before euthanasia. The bacterin IgY resulted in a significant decrease in C. jejuni counts per infected bird. The hyperimmune yolks showed strong reactivity to a broad representation of C. jejuni and C. coli clonal complexes. These results indicate that passive immunization with hyperimmune yolks, especially bacterin derived, offers possibilities to control Campylobacter colonization in poultry.
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