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Cattle rabies vaccination—a longitudinal study of rabies antibody titres in an Israeli dairy herd

Yakobson, B., Taylor, N., Dveres, N., Rozenblut, S., Tov, B. E., Markos, M., Gallon, N., Homer, D. and Maki, J. (2015) Cattle rabies vaccination—a longitudinal study of rabies antibody titres in an Israeli dairy herd. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 121 (1-2). pp. 170-175. ISSN 0167-5877

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.05.004


In contrast to many regions of the world where rabies is endemic in terrestrial wildlife species, wildlife rabies has been controlled in Israel by oral rabies vaccination programs, but canine rabies is re-emerging in the northern area of the Golan Heights. From 2009 to 2014 there were 208 animal rabies cases in Israel; 96 (46%) were considered introduced primary cases in dogs, triggering 112 secondary cases. One third (37/112) of the secondary cases were in cattle. Rabies vaccination is voluntary for cattle in Israel, except those on public exhibit. Rabies vaccination schedules for cattle vary based on farm practices and perception of risk. In this study 59 cattle from a dairy farm which routinely vaccinates against rabies were assigned into six groups according to age and vaccination histories. Four groups contained adult cows which had received one previous rabies vaccination, one group of adults had received two previous vaccinations, and one group was unvaccinated calves. Serum samples were collected and the cows were vaccinated with a commercial rabies vaccine. Sera were again collected 39 days later and the calf group re-vaccinated and re-sampled 18 days later. Sera were analyzed for the presence of rabies virus neutralizing antibodies using the rapid immunofluorescent antibody test. Cattle with antibody titres ≥0.5 IU/ml were considered to be protected against rabies. Twenty-six of 27 adult cattle (96%) vaccinated once at less than five months old did not have protective titres. Sixty percent (6/10) cattle vaccinated once at around six months of age did have adequate titres. Cattle previously vaccinated twice (n = 10; 100%) with an 18 month interval between inoculations, had protective titres and protective antibody titres following booster vaccination (n = 51; 100%). The anamnestic response of cattle to a killed rabies vaccine was not affected by the time interval between vaccinations, which ranged from 12 to 36 months. These results suggest that calves from vaccinated cows should not be vaccinated before six months old to avoid maternal antibody interference. Whilst most cattle older than six months old will be protected after a single inoculation, a second inoculation ensures a higher antibody levels for improved protection. Cattle receiving an effective priming dose responded well to a booster up to 36 months later. Such results demonstrate the effectiveness of rabies vaccination in cattle and the added value of a second dose to ensure a prolonged immune response against rabies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Animal Sciences > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)- DO NOT USE
ID Code:69232

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