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Evaluation of the effects of a killed whole-cell vaccine against Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis in 3 herds of dairy cattle with natural exposure to the organism

Barbara Knust DVM, MPH, DACVPM1, Elisabeth Patton DVM, PhD2, João Ribeiro-Lima DVM, MPVM3, Jeff J. Bohn DVM4, and Scott J. Wells DVM, PhD, DACVPM5
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  • 1 Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 2 Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, 2811 Agriculture Dr, Madison, WI 53708.
  • | 3 Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • | 4 Northwestern Wisconsin Veterinary Services, 949 Wisconsin 46, Amery, WI 54001.
  • | 5 Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate effects of vaccination with a killed whole-cell vaccine against Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) on fecal shedding of the organism, development of clinical paratuberculosis (Johne's disease [JD]), milk production, measures of reproduction, and within-herd longevity of dairy cattle naturally exposed to MAP.

Design—Controlled clinical trial.

Animals—200 vaccinated and 195 unvaccinated (control) dairy cows from 3 herds in Wisconsin.

Procedures—Every other heifer calf born in each herd received the MAP vaccine; 162 vaccinates and 145 controls that had ≥ 1 lactation were included in analyses. Bacteriologic culture of fecal samples for MAP was performed annually for 7 years; results were confirmed via histologic methods and PCR assay. Production records and culture results were evaluated to determine effects of vaccination on variables of interest in study cows. Annual whole-herd prevalence of MAP shedding in feces was also determined.

Results—Vaccinates had a significantly lower hazard of testing positive for MAP via culture of fecal samples than did controls over time (hazard ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval, 0.34 to 0.97). Fewer vaccinates developed clinical JD than did controls (n = 6 and 12, respectively), but these differences were nonsignificant. Overall within-herd longevity, total milk production, and calving-to-conception intervals were similar between vaccinates and controls. In all herds, prevalence of MAP shedding in feces decreased over time.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Vaccination with a killed whole-cell MAP vaccine appeared to be an effective tool as part of a program to control the spread of JD in dairy cattle.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Knust's present address is National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333.

Supported, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from USDA APHIS.

Presented at the 10th International Colloquium on Paratuberculosis, Minneapolis, August 2009; the Johne's Disease Integrated Program and American Dairy Science Association Joint Meeting, Denver, July 2010; the 145th AVMA Annual Convention, New Orleans, July 2008; and the 43rd American Association of Bovine Practitioners Annual Meeting, Saint Paul, September 2006.

This report may not necessarily express the views of APHIS.

The authors thank Drs. Donald Rothbauer, Matt Dodd, Richard Fish, and Darlene Konkle for assistance with design of the study and collection of data.

Address correspondence to Dr. Knust (bknust@cdc.gov).