Programmes based on the identification and treatment of cases and the culling of animals refractory to treatment had failed to eradicate virulent footrot from two districts in the western region of Nepal. From 1993 to 1996 vaccination against two endemic virulent strains of Dichelobader nodosus was tested for its potential to contribute to the eradication of footrot from the region. Only sheep and goats which had been free of signs of footrot at three inspections at monthly intervals before their annual migration to alpine pastures were eligible for inclusion. From November 1992, the treatment of cases identified during inspections included the injection of specific vaccine. Successfully treated cases migrated with their flocks but were excluded from the vaccine trial. Non-responding cases were culled. Forty combined flocks of sheep and goats (approximately 9500 animals) were used initially to compare three vaccination regimens. Eleven flocks (sheep and goats) were treated with two doses of specific vaccine (group A), nine (sheep and goats) were treated with commercial vaccine followed by specific vaccine (group B) and 10 (sheep and goats) were treated with two doses of commercial vaccine (group C) in March to April 1993 before the annual migration; 10 flocks (sheep and goats) remained unvaccinated (group D). Only sheep and goats free of signs of footrot were allowed to migrate. Nevertheless, virulent footrot recurred in many flocks three months later. However, its prevalence was significantly lower in group A than in the other three groups combined. Groups A, B and C then received the specific vaccine before their migrations in 1994 to 1996; group D remained unvaccinated. The annual programme of inspection and identification and treatment of cases continued for seven years, but the vaccinations ceased after four years. There was no recurrence of virulent footrot after November 1993. After the first season the virulent strains of D nodosus used in the specific vaccine could no longer be isolated, although antigenically distinct, benign strains of the organism persisted in cases of benign footrot.
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