Attempts to control haemonchosis in grazing ewes by vaccination with gut membrane proteins of the parasite

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A vaccination trial was conducted to evaluate the potential benefit of Haemonchus contortus gut membrane proteins as vaccine antigens under field conditions in Louisiana. The trial was conducted in the summer of 1996 in a flock of ewes grazing pasture naturally infected with H. contortus. Ewes were randomly assigned to three treatment groups (vaccine, adjuvant only, and saline) and fecal egg counts (FEC, measured as eggs per gram of feces), packed cell volumes (PCV), and antibody levels were monitored fortnightly for 12 weeks. It was shown by FEC that there were large individual variations in susceptibility to H. contortus in both vaccinated and non-vaccinated sheep, a finding which could have masked differences between treatments when analyzed by conventional statistical methods. Based on their egg counts before the period when the vaccination could have had an effect, all ewes were categorized as 'susceptible' or 'relatively resistant'. The significance of differences between FEC, PCV and antibody responses of vaccinated and control sheep were tested separately for the 'susceptible' and 'relatively resistant' category. The 'susceptible' vaccinates shed 65% fewer worm eggs during the period when the vaccine could have had an effect, but the difference was only significant on Week 6 post-vaccination. In these experiments, it was difficult to completely exclude the confounding effect of having 'relatively resistant' sheep in the control group. More studies are needed to further evaluate H11 and H-gal-GP antigens under field conditions. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

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Veterinary Parasitology

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