Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2007
Publication Date: 12/5/2007
Citation: Thacker, T.C., Palmer, M.V., Waters, W.R. 2007. Vaccination of White-tailed Deer with Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG). In: Proccedings of the 42nd United States-Japan Cooperative Program in Natural Resources Panel of Animal and Avian Health, December 5-7, 2007, Tsukuba, Japan.
Technical Abstract: The presence of tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis in captive and free-ranging wildlife remains one of the greatest challenges to eradication of tuberculosis in the United States. A possible addition to current control measures could be vaccination of deer to prevent infection, disease, or transmission. Preliminary data has suggested that BCG is efficacious at reducing pathology whether administered orally or subcutaneous. Anecdotal data from earlier studies suggested that variability existed between strains of BCG. To evaluate the efficacy of BCG strain Pasteur compared to BCG strain Danish, white-tailed deer were vaccinated with 10**7 CFU of BCG. Deer vaccinated with BCG Pasteur (n=9) or BCG Danish (n=8) and an unvaccinated control (n = 9) group were infected three months later with virulent M. bovis (300 CFU) using the intratonsillar method. Four months after infection, animals were euthanized and examined for gross and microscopic lesions. BCG Danish vaccinated animals had fewer gross lesions compared to BCG Pasteur vaccinated or unvaccinated animals. In addition lesions in BCG Danish vaccinated animals had less necrotic lesions with fewer acid-fact bacilli than the other two groups. Decreased lesion severity with less necrosis and fewer acid fast bacilli would likely decrease the ability of vaccinated deer to shed virulent M. bovis thus decreasing intraspecies and interspecies transmission. It is also evident from the current study that BCG Danish may be more protective in white-tailed deer.