The neonatal requirements for maternal passive immunity and the lactation immunobiology with regard to sow immunisation for neonatal protection are reviewed. A vaccination protocol which combines oral and parenteral antigen administration to produce antibody activity mediated mainly by IgM is described. Its efficacy in affording protection to neonatal piglets was tested against a lethal oral infection with a virulent strain of Escherichia coli "Abbottstown". Piglets suckled on vaccinated or non-vaccinated sows were exposed to an infective challenge in the gastrointestinal tract and the relative pathology in test and control groups observed over the neonatal period. Death ensued in 76 per cent of piglets suckled on control sows and 26 per cent of piglets suckled on sows vaccinated by two intramuscular injections. Litters suckled on orally vaccinated sows were able to resist a similar infective challenge, there being only one fatality out of 42 piglets.
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