Pregnant gilts were vaccinated with two doses of alhydrogel adsorbed fimbrial antigens of Escherichia coli (K88ab, K88ac, K99 and 987P) supplemented with beta toxoid of Clostridium perfringens type C. Their piglets, and piglets of nonvaccinated gilts, were subsequently orogastrically challenged with one or other of the four fimbrial types of enteropathogenic E coli. Some of the vaccinated animals were reinjected with a single dose of the vaccine during second gestation and their piglets, and piglets of non-vaccinated sows, were challenged the same way as were litters of gilts. Blood serum and colostra were examined for antibodies to the four fimbrial antigens of E coli and for antitoxin to beta toxin of C perfringens type C. It was found that: (1) a highly significant reduction in mortality and morbidity was achieved in vaccinated litters against all four challenge strains of E coli; (2) excretion of K88ab and K88ac but not of K99 and 987P challenge strains was significantly reduced; (3) revaccination of sows by a single dose of the vaccine during second gestation conferred complete protection against mortality and highly significant protection against morbidity; (4) no correlation was noted between colostral or seroagglutinins to fimbrial antigens of E coli and mortality rates in litters challenged with homologous fimbrial types of E coli, but good correlation was found between colostral precipitins to K88 antigens and mortality rates in litters; (5) antitoxin value in 97 per cent of colostrum of vaccinated sows was 10 iu equivalent of C perfringens type C toxin or more per ml of colostrum.
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