Abstract Title:

The effects of vaccination of Merino ewes with an attenuated Australian bluetongue virus serotype 23 at different stages of gestation.

Abstract Source:

Int Immunopharmacol. 2005 Mar;5(3):555-69. PMID: 8825310

Abstract Author(s):

M Flanagan, S J Johnson

Article Affiliation:

Oonoonba Veterinary Laboratory, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Townsville.


A cell culture attenuated Australian bluetongue virus serotype 23 (BLU23) prototype vaccine was assessed for its effects on pregnant Merino sheep. Seventy-six ewes were vaccinated at 5 different stages of gestation, and the failure to lamb at term was as follows: 35 to 43 days of gestation, 20/36 (56%); 57 to 64 days of gestation, 3/10 (30%); 81 to 88 days of gestation, 3/10 (30%); 109 to 116 days of gestation, 0/10 (0%); 130 to 137 days of gestation, 0/10 (0%). Of 30 ewes vaccinated with a cell culture supernatant fluid control between 35 and 43 days of gestation, 6.7% (2/30) failed to lamb at term. Two ewes vaccinated with BLU23 vaccine between 35 and 43 days of gestation had lambs with hydranencephaly. All other lambs born were clinically normal. Three ewes vaccinated with BLU23 aborted. Two of these were vaccinated between 35 and 43 days of gestation, the 3rd between 81 and 88 days of gestation. Five lambs were born with BLU group antibody. Four of these were from ewes vaccinated between 35 and 43 days of gestation, and 2 of these had hydranencephaly. The fifth was from a ewe vaccinated between 57 and 64 days of gestation. The vaccine did not produce disease in adult sheep, but was a potent cause of early foetal death and to a much lesser extent foetal malformation.

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