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Dev Biol (Basel). 2003;114:221-7.

Equine vaccine for West Nile virus.

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Biological Research and Development, Fort Dodge Animal Health, Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501, USA.


To meet the urgent need of controlling West Nile virus (WNV) infection in the equine population, we have developed a killed WNV vaccine. A dose titration study in horses was first conducted to evaluate serum neutralization antibody responses against WNV in these animals. Horses were vaccinated intramuscularly twice with the test vaccine at low, medium and high dose, three weeks apart. Serum samples were collected periodically and were measured for serum neutralizing antibody using a plaque reduction neutralization test. Significant increases in serum neutralizing antibody were detected in all three dosage groups 14 days post the second vaccination. Twelve months after the second vaccination, horses vaccinated with the medium dose of WNV vaccine and non-vaccinated control horses were experimentally challenged with WNV. Nine out of 11 (81.8%) controls developed viraemia after challenge while only one out of 19 (5.3%) vaccinates had transient viraemia, representing a 94% preventable fraction. In a separate study, the safety of the killed WNV vaccine was demonstrated under field conditions. A total of 648 horses, including 32 pregnant mares, were enrolled in the study. During the two weeks post vaccination period, no local or systemic adverse reactions were observed following 96% of the vaccinations administered while mild, transient injection site reactions were noted in a small number of horses. These results indicate that the killed WNV vaccine developed by Fort Dodge Animal Health is safe and efficacious.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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