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To establish that female calves vaccinated with Brucella abortus strain RB51 at 3, 5, and 7 months of age are protected against infection and abortion when challenged exposed during their first pregnancy.


Polled Hereford heifer calves obtained from a brucellosis-free herd.


Calves were inoculated SC at 3, 5, or 7 months of age with strain RB51 (n = 26), strain 19 (n = 16), or sterile saline solution (n = 15). Calves were bred at 16 to 17 months of age and challenged exposed during the first pregnancy with virulent B abortus strain 2308.


After vaccination, none of the heifers given strain RB51 developed serum antibodies that reacted in the standard tube agglutination test, but reacted in a dotblot assay, using RB51 antigen. B abortus was cultured from biopsy specimens of superficial cervical lymph nodes in the RB51 and S19 vaccinates at 10 weeks, but not at 12 weeks after vaccination. All 4 heifers that had been vaccinated with RB51 at 3 months of age were protected against infection and abortion when challenged exposed. Vaccination at 5 and 7 months of age gave equivalent protection. Heifers given strain 19 were 95% protected and controls (given saline solution) had a high incidence of infection and abortion.


Strain RB51 is protective at doses comparable to those of strain 19 in calves 3 to 10 months of age.

Clinical Relevance

Immunogenicity and failure to induce antibodies that interfere with the serologic diagnosis of field infections of B abortus make strain RB51 an effective vaccine. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1153—1156)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research