A double blind field trial was carried out with a live attenuated bovine respiratory syncytial virus vaccine. The trial involved 530 calves, two to 10 months old, on 27 dairy farms, where respiratory problems due to bovine respiratory syncytial virus infections had been observed during the preceding year. In 17 herds either all calves were vaccinated (nine groups) or all calves received a placebo (eight groups). In 10 herds half the number of calves were vaccinated and the other half kept as non-vaccinated controls. Calves were vaccinated intramuscularly twice with an interval of four to five weeks. These groups were under regular clinical observation and animals were tested periodically for antibodies to bovine respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza type 3 virus. Serological examination indicated that no bovine respiratory syncytial virus infection had occurred prior to the first vaccination in August. Vaccination did not cause adverse reactions. Low concentrations of neutralising and complement fixing antibodies were induced by vaccination and a sharp increase of antibody titres was observed after natural infection of vaccinated animals. Infections with bovine respiratory syncytial virus occurred in six out of eight non-vaccinated groups, in nine out of 10 partly vaccinated groups and in only two out of nine completely vaccinated groups. Virus infection in completely vaccinated groups was significantly reduced compared with partly vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups. The incidence of bovine respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory disease was significantly reduced in completely vaccinated groups compared to non-vaccinated groups. Generally only mild signs of upper respiratory disease were present in completely vaccinated groups after bovine respiratory syncytial virus infection.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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