A limited outbreak of nephropathogenic infectious bronchitis (NIB) occurred in three Delmarva (DMV) commercial broiler chicken flocks in 2011. Isolates of NIB virus (NIBV)--DMV/1639/11, DMV/3432/11, and DMV/3902/11--were characterized by sequence analysis of the N-terminal subunit (S1) of the spike (S) gene. Findings indicated that the isolates were identical to each other and to PA/9579A/10, a 2010 isolate from poultry in Pennsylvania. The 2010 and 2011 isolates appear to have originated from a 1997-2000 NIB outbreak in Pennsylvania. DMV/1639/11 and PA/9579A/10 were determined to be nephropathogenic in susceptible chickens, yielding virus reisolations from kidney and inducing characteristic interstitial nephritis microscopic lesions. In a controlled laboratory study, 40% of chickens vaccinated with a combination live vaccine containing infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strains Massachusetts (Mass) + Connecticut (Conn) were positive on virus isolation attempts after challenge with DMV/1639/11, compared with only 13% of Mass + Arkansas (Ark) vaccinates. Both combination vaccines gave partial protection against the development of DMV/1639/11-induced renal lesions. Although numerically fewer chickens vaccinated with Mass + Conn had interstitial nephritis compared with those vaccinated with Mass + Ark, neither vaccine combination offered greater protection (P < 0.05) than observed in unvaccinated chickens challenged with DMV/1639/11. Mass + Ark vaccinations, applied under commercial conditions in the hatchery (spray) and on-farm (spray), did not protect the trachea or kidney from DMV/1639/11 challenge. Serologic testing of broiler flocks found < 3% (2 of 69) tested to possess specific antibodies to DMV/1639/11, indicating the virus had not become established in the region.