The immune responses of sheep to single and double doses of commercially available louping-ill virus vaccine were examined. The susceptibility to challenge of sheep which had been vaccinated but showed a poor response was also investigated. Two injections of vaccine were required to provoke an adequate antibody response and maximum titres were obtained when there was an interval of two to eight weeks between injections. After challenge, viraemia could not be detected in animals with an antibody titre of 20 although increase in the concentration of humoral antibodies indicated that infection had occurred. Vaccinated but seronegative sheep and vaccinated animals with an antibody titre of 10 were also clinically resistant to the challenge, although circulation of virus was demonstrated. That vaccination had sensitised those animals to viral antigen was evident from the reduced viraemias, the early rise in humoral antibody titres and subsequent protection afforded compared to unvaccinated control animals. Thus, animals with minimal antibody titres after vaccination are protected, but it is recommended that vaccines eliciting the highest possible antibody responses will be the most useful under field conditions.
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