Prophylactic Vaccination for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Disease Investigation & Control - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Control / Treatment & Care / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords
  • Preventative vaccination
  • Routine vaccination
  • Prophylactic vaccination programmes are carried out in countries where foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is enzootic, or which have a high risk of the virus being imported.
    • Vaccination regimes vary between geographical areas.
    • In general, cattle are the most likely species to be vaccinated.
    • Inactivated vaccines are used, which may be monovalent or multivalent s appropriate for the area, and may use "generic" strains such as "O Marisa" or may be derived from field isolates particular to a region (V.w23).
    • IgG peaks at 14-21 days after standard primary vaccination and a booster vaccine is given at this time (W18.Apl01.sib1).
    • Juveniles from vaccinated mothers are vaccinated at an age designed to minimise the time when they are protected by neither maternal antibodies nor their own developing immunity following vaccination.
    • Vaccine is injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly, depending on the type of vaccine.
      • Cattle may be vaccinated using a vaccine with aluminium hydroxide plus saponin as an adjuvant, or an oil emulsion adjuvant (J35.151.w1).
      • Oily adjuvants are commonly used for vaccinating pigs (J35.148.w1)
      • For sheep, one third of cattle dose has been used (J16.8.w1).
    • Following the initial course of vaccination, boosters are given at intervals appropriate for the region.
Appropriate Use (?)
  • Generally used in countries where foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is enzootic, or which have a high risk of the virus being imported.
  • Vaccination regimes for routine prophylactic vaccination are or have been employed in many areas of the world. In some countries they have been sufficiently successful to allow the elimination of the disease from that country, alongside neighbouring countries or even despite the continued presence of the disease in surrounding countries.
  • In most EU countries, prior to 1992, cattle were vaccinated on a yearly basis. (B207)
  • In southern Africa, cattle are generally vaccinated every six months (B210.89.w89)
  • In South America, vaccination every four months is commonly employed (B207)
  • Immunity develops after 7-21 days.B207, B210.89.w89
  • Additional vaccination may be used to boost immunity in the face of an outbreak.
  • Vaccination with more than one strain at a time neither enhances nor competitively inhibits response to the different strains. (J21.40.w2).
  • Factors required for effective control by vaccination include effective zoo-sanitary regulations, particularly movement control (including prevention of illegal movements of livestock), quarantine, effective disease monitoring including typing to change vaccines as required, safe affective vaccines, effective vaccine distribution (which relies on transport and cold storage) and epidemiological studies to increase understanding and monitor status (J35.134.w3).
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Ineffective against strains of FMDV not included in the vaccines.
  • Requirements for cold storage and for refrigeration during transportation;
  • Relatively short endurance of immunity and therefore requirements for frequent booster vaccinations.
  • Risk of outbreaks related to the use of improperly inactivated vaccine or from "escape" of virus from production plants which do not incorporate sufficient safeguards (J70.9.w1, J70.10.w3).
  • Problems reported associated with vaccination in the past have included abortion/stillbirths if pregnant sows were vaccinated and severe local reaction to vaccine in sows. A small proportion of cattle (0.005%) have sometimes developed an anaphylactic response after repeated vaccination. Many problems can be eliminated by the use of satisfactory purification and standardisation of vaccine (B207, J70.17.w3).
    • Reactions are related to impurities in antigens and adjuvants (J70.17.w3).
    • These problems are not seen when modern vaccines, made with purified antigen under conditions of Good Manufacturing Practice are used and vaccines are handled correctly (V.w23).
  • Vaccination of populations likely to be exposed to infection does not necessarily protect all animals from infection, as immune responses vary between individuals (J19.116.w1).
  • Some animals may be in the early incubation stages of FMD at the time when they are vaccinated, and a small proportion may become carriers (D36.Para124).
    • However, good-quality vaccines, if given a sufficient length of time prior to exposure to live virus, may reduce the incidence of the development of the carrier state in vaccinated animals (W18.Apl01.sib1).
    • There is no evidence that vaccinated animals, even if they become carriers, cause infection in susceptible animals: "follow-up outbreaks, caused by the presence of vaccinated carrier animals, have never been observed." (P5.40S.w2).
  • Economic considerations:
    • Immediate costs associated with vaccination (D35.w2).
    • Barrier to International Trade: many countries prohibit the importation of vaccinated ruminants.
  • Safety considerations:
    • Risk of stress, particularly to highly pregnant animals, during gathering and handling for vaccination (D36.Para200).
    • Hazards to both animals and humans in trying to gather animals in inclement weather such as fog or snow (D36.Para200).
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Effective vaccines against the strains of FMDV likely to be encountered in the region.
Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • Use of vaccines does not require special expertise.
Cost/ Availability
  • Vaccines are generally available from commercial suppliers.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
  • Vaccination may greatly reduce the number of animals developing foot-and-mouth disease, both within and outside the vaccinated area. This means that less animals will develop the clinical signs of this disease, which can be severe and cause considerable suffering.
  • Countries may have legal restrictions against the use of prophylactic vaccination for FMD. Within the EU, routine vaccination is prohibited - see: COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2003-85-EC of 29 September 2003 on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease - full text provided
  • The use of FMD vaccines may be governed by statutory regulations specifying both the route and frequency of vaccination.
  • Legalities of International Trade: many countries prohibit the importation of vaccinated ruminants.
Author Debra Bourne
Referee Suzanne I Boardman

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