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Oral Vaccination of White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with Mycobacterium bovis Baccillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)

Mitchell V. Palmer, Tyler C. Thacker, W. Ray Waters, Suelee Robbe-Austerman
Plos One 2014 v.9 no.5 pp. 1-6
Mycobacterium bovis, Odocoileus virginianus, deer, disease reservoirs, hosts, immunity, necrosis, oral vaccination, tuberculosis, wildlife, Michigan
Wildlife reservoirs of Mycobacterium bovis represent serious obstacles to the eradication of tuberculosis from livestock, particularly cattle. In Michigan, USA tuberculous white-tailed deer transmit M. bovis to other deer and cattle. One approach in dealing with this wildlife reservoir is to vaccinate deer, thus interfering with the intraspecies and interspecies transmission cycles. Thirty-three white-tailed deer were assigned to one of two groups; oral vaccination with 1x10(8) colony-forming units of M. bovis BCG Danish (n = 17); and non-vaccinated (n = 16). One hundred eleven days after vaccination deer were infected intratonsilarly with 300 colony-forming units of virulent M. bovis. At examination, 150 days after challenge, BCG vaccinated deer had fewer gross and microscopic lesions, fewer tissues from which M. bovis could be isolated, and fewer late stage granulomas with extensive liquefactive necrosis. Fewer lesions, especially those of a highly necrotic nature should decrease the potential for dissemination of M. bovis within the host and transmission to other susceptible hosts.