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BCG vaccination in cattle

N. A. Parlane, D. Shu, S. Subharat, D. N. Wedlock and others

ALTHOUGH no tuberculosis (TB) vaccines are currently licensed for use in cattle, BCG vaccination has been shown to induce protection against experimental challenge with Mycobacterium bovis in field trials. The main reasons that widespread BCG vaccination has not been adopted are that it may not offer complete protection and vaccination can skew the outcome of TB diagnostic tests. The latter problem could be overcome by the use of tests that differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals (DIVA tests), but these are not currently in widespread use. This study aimed to assess how long BCG vaccination interfered with the diagnostic whole blood IFN-γ test and tuberculin intradermal caudal fold transfer (CFT), and whether revaccination after two years enhanced protection against TB.

Seventy-nine female calves were included in the study. The calves were divided into two groups: 62 experimental animals and 17 controls. At two to four weeks of age, the experimental calves were vaccinated with BCG. Approximately two years later, the BCG-vaccinated cattle were divided into four groups: one was not revaccinated (16 cattle); another group was revaccinated with the same amount of BCG (15 cattle); a third group was vaccinated with a TB biobeads vaccine; …

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