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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: COUNTERMEASURES TO PREVENT AND CONTROL TUBERCULOSIS IN CATTLE AND WILDLIFE RESERVOIRS Title: Investigations on Deer to Deer and Deer to Cattle Transmission of the Vaccine Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)

Authors
item Palmer, Mitchell
item Thacker, Tyler
item Waters, Wade
item Robbe-Austerman, Suelee -
item Harris, Beth -

Submitted to: Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 29, 2010
Publication Date: November 12, 2010
Citation: Palmer, M.V., Thacker, T.C., Waters, W.R., Robbe-Austerman, S., Harris, B.N. 2010. Investigations on deer to deer and deer to cattle transmission of the vaccine Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination [serial online]. 1:104. Available: http://www.omicsonline.org/2157-7560/2157-7560-1-104.pdf.

Interpretive Summary: The bacterium Mycobacterium bovis causes tuberculosis in animals and humans. Some countries have found it impossible to control bovine tuberculosis due to the presence of a wildlife reservoir of M. bovis. In Michigan, USA there exists a reservoir of M. bovis in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Vaccination with the human TB vaccine, M. bovis BCG, is one approach to controlling tuberculosis in wildlife. Unintentional exposure of cattle; however, to BCG could result in increased numbers of false positive tuberculin skin test reactions. To evaluate the risk of vaccine transmission between deer and cattle, twenty-nine white-tailed deer received M. bovis BCG (n=19) or no vaccination (n=10). Vaccinated and non-vaccinated deer were co-mingled with opportunity for direct and indirect contact. Twelve unvaccinated Holstein calves were housed in a paddock with no means of direct contact with deer; however, indirect contact through sharing of feed and water was permitted. After 180 days many unvaccinated deer had changed their TB skin test status from negative to positive. All 12 calves remained negative. Vaccination of white-tailed deer is unlikely to have a deleterious effect on tuberculosis surveillance measures in cattle.

Technical Abstract: Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of tuberculosis in animals and causes tuberculosis in humans clinically indistinguishable from disease caused by M. tuberculosis. Some countries have found it impossible to eradicate or control bovine tuberculosis due to the presence of a wildlife reservoir of M. bovis. In Michigan, USA there exists a reservoir of M. bovis in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Vaccination with M. bovis BCG is one approach to controlling tuberculosis in wildlife. Nevertheless, use of a live vaccine generates concerns about exposure risk to non-target species, including domestic livestock. Unintentional exposure of cattle to BCG could result in increased numbers of false positive tuberculin skin test reactions. Twenty-nine white-tailed deer received 1 SC dose of 10**7 colony-forming units of M. bovis BCG Danish (n=19) or no vaccination (n=10). Vaccinated and non-vaccinated deer were co-mingled with opportunity for direct and indirect contact. Twelve unvaccinated Holstein calves were housed in a paddock with no means of direct contact with deer; however, indirect contact through sharing of feed and water was permitted. After 180 days, 11/15 vaccinated deer and 4/8 non-vaccinated deer were classified as reactors using the tuberculin skin test. All 12 calves were categorized as non-reactors, by both the tuberculin skin test and Bovigam. BCG was rarely isolated from deer oronasal swabs; notwithstanding, BCG was isolated from tissue samples of 6/19 vaccinated deer and 1/10 non-vaccinated deer. Vaccination of white-tailed deer is unlikely to have a deleterious effect on tuberculosis surveillance measures in cattle.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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