Protection of Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) from tuberculosis after intra-muscular vaccination with different doses of BCG

Sandrine Lesellier, Si Palmer, Sonya Gowtage-Sequiera, Roland Ashford, Deanna Dalley, Dipesh Davé, Ute Weyer, F. Javier Salguero, Alejandro Nunez, Timothy Crawshaw, Leigh A.L. Corner, R. Glyn Hewinson, Mark A. Chambers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (SciVal)


Mycobacterium bovis infection is widespread in Eurasian badger (Meles meles) populations in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland where they act as a wildlife reservoir of infection for cattle. Removal of infected badgers can significantly reduce the incidence of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in local cattle herds. However, control measures based on culling of native wildlife are contentious and may even be detrimental to disease control. Vaccinating badgers with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) has been shown to be efficacious against experimentally induced TB of badgers when administered subcutaneously and orally. Vaccination may be an alternative or complementary strategy to other disease control measures. As the subcutaneous route is impractical for vaccinating wild badgers and an oral vaccine bait formulation is currently unavailable, we evaluated the intramuscular (IM) route of BCG administration. It has been demonstrated that the IM route is safe in badgers. IM administration has the practical advantage of being relatively easy to perform on trapped wild badgers without recourse to chemical immobilisation. We report the evaluation of the efficacy of IM administration of BCG Danish strain 1331 at two different doses: the dose prescribed for adult humans (2-8×105colony forming units) and a 10-fold higher dose. Vaccination generated a dose-dependent cell-mediated immune response characterised by the production of interferon-γ (IFNγ) and protection against endobronchial challenge with virulent M. bovis. Protection, expressed in terms of a significant reduction in the severity of disease, the number of tissues containing acid-fast bacilli, and reduced bacterial excretion was statistically significant with the higher dose only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3782-3790
Number of pages9
Issue number21
Early online date24 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2011


  • Immunology
  • Pathology
  • Tuberculosis
  • Vaccination
  • Wildlife


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