Biosafety of Brucella abortus strain RB51 for vaccination of mature bulls and pregnant heifers

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Objective - To determine shedding and colonization profiles in mature sexually intact bulls and pregnant heifers after vaccination with a standard calfhood dose of Brucella abortus strain RB51 (SRB51). Animals - 6 sexually mature 3-year-old Jersey bulls and 7 mixed-breed heifers in midgestation. Procedure - Bulls and pregnant heifers were vaccinated IM with the standard calfhood dose of 3 X 1010 colony-forming units of SRB51. After vaccination, selected body fluids were monitored weekly for vaccine organism shedding. Pathogenesis was monitored in bulls by weekly breeding soundness examination and, in heifers, by delivery status of the calf. Vaccine organism colonization was assessed by obtaining select tissue at necropsy for bacterial culture. Serologic analysis was performed by use of numerous tests, including complement fixation, an SRB51-based ELISA, and immunoblot analysis. Results - After vaccination, none of the vaccinated bulls or heifers shed SRB51 in their secretions. Results of breeding soundness examination for bulls were normal as was delivery status of the pregnant heifers (6 live births, 1 dystocia). At necropsy, SRB51 was not recovered from any of the selected tissues obtained from bulls, heifers, or calves; however, serologic analysis did detect SRB51-specific antibodies in all cattle. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Vaccination with the standard calfhood dose of SRB51 administered IM was not associated with shedding or colonization in sexually mature bulls or pregnant heifers. Also, under conditions of this study with small numbers of animals, IM vaccination with SRB51 does not appear to cause any reproductive problems when administered to sexually mature cattle.

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American Journal of Veterinary Research

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