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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Jan-Feb;10(1):53-8. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2009.0050.

Consumption of baits containing raccoon pox-based plague vaccines protects black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus).

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  • 1USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin 53711, USA.


Baits containing recombinant raccoon poxvirus (RCN) expressing plague antigens (fraction 1 [F1] and a truncated form of the V protein-V307) were offered for voluntary consumption several times over the course of several months to a group of 16 black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). For comparison, another group of prairie dogs (n = 12) was injected subcutaneously (SC) (prime and boost) with 40 microg of F1-V fusion protein absorbed to alum, a vaccine-adjuvant combination demonstrated to elicit immunity to plague in mice and other mammals. Control animals received baits containing RCN without the inserted antigen (n = 8) or injected diluent (n = 7), and as there was no difference in their survival rates by Kaplan-Meier analysis, all of them were combined into one group in the final analysis. Mean antibody titers to Yersinia pestis F1 and V antigen increased (p < 0.05) in the vaccinated groups compared to controls, but titers were significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in those receiving injections of F1-V fusion protein than in those orally vaccinated with RCN-based vaccine. Interestingly, upon challenge with approximately 70,000 cfu of virulent Y. pestis, oral vaccination resulted in survival rates that were significantly higher (p = 0.025) than the group vaccinated by injection with F1-V fusion protein and substantially higher (p < 0.0001) than the control group. These results demonstrate that oral vaccination of prairie dogs using RCN-based plague vaccines provides significant protection against challenge at dosages that simulate simultaneous delivery of the plague bacterium by numerous flea bites.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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