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Protection of cattle against heartwater in Botswana: comparative efficacy of different methods against natural and blood-derived challenges
  1. BC Simpson,
  2. MS Lindsay,
  3. JR Morris,
  4. FS Muirhead,
  5. A Pollock,
  6. SG Prichard,
  7. HG Stanley,
  8. GR Thirlwell,
  9. AG Hunter,
  10. J Bradley and
  11. al. et


Five groups of Tswana-cross castrated male cattle between 20 and 30 months of age (a total of 158 animals) were transported from a ranch in a heartwater-free area of south Botswana to a feedlot near Gaborone in the east of Botswana where heartwater is endemic. On arrival, one group was vaccinated intravenously with the Onderstepoort sheep blood heartwater vaccine, one group was vaccinated intravenously with the new Onderstepoort tick-derived heartwater vaccine and a third group was vaccinated subcutaneously with this tick-derived vaccine. Vaccine reactions were blocked with long acting oxytetracycline on the first day of fever. A fourth group had a series of injections of long acting oxytetracycline on days 0, 7, 14 and 21 after arrival, and a fifth served as untreated controls. The animals remained at the feedlot for 65 days during which time they faced a low level of challenge by Amblyomma hebraeum ticks. None contracted heartwater and so they were then challenged, together with a further group of control cattle, with a dose of the sheep blood vaccine. Some animals in all groups had severe heartwater reactions and died despite therapy, but 76.7 per cent, 64.5 per cent and 74.3 per cent of the cattle in the blood vaccine, intravenous tick vaccine and long acting oxytetracycline groups respectively were resistant to challenge, compared with 48.3 per cent of the subcutaneous tick vaccine group and 36.4 per cent of the controls. It was concluded that intravenous vaccination of susceptible adult cattle with either the blood or the tick-derived vaccine needs careful monitoring in the month after vaccination and does not necessarily result in immune animals.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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