Impact of piglet oral vaccination against tuberculosis in endemic free-ranging wild boar populations

Iratxe Díez-Delgado, Iker A. Sevilla, Beatriz Romero, Eleanor Tanner, Jose A. Barasona, Andrew R. White, Peter Wilhelm Lurz, Mike Boots, José de la Fuente, Lucas Dominguez, Joaquin Vicente, Joseba M. Garrido, Ramón A. Juste, Alicia Aranaz, Christian Gortazar

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The Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) is the main wild reservoir of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in Mediterranean woodlands and a key risk factor for cattle tuberculosis (TB) breakdowns. Wild boar vaccination therefore has the potential to be a valuable tool for TB control. We tested two orally delivered vaccines, heat-inactivated Mycobacterium bovis (IV) and BCG, in four sites (two per vaccine type: one Managed and one Natural or unmanaged) during four years. TB was also monitored in 15 unvaccinated sites (spatial control), as well as in all sites from one year prior to intervention (temporal control). The rationale is that by vaccinating 2–6 month old wild boar piglets we can reduce disease at the population level during the study period. This is achievable due to the fast turnover of wild boar populations. Vaccine baits were deployed using selective piglet feeders and this method proved highly successful with uptake rates of 50 to 74% in Natural sites and 89 to 92% in Managed sites. This is relevant for the potential delivery of vaccines to control other diseases, too. Local wild boar TB prevalence at the beginning of the study was already high ranging from 50 to 100%. TB prevalence increased in unvaccinated sites (6%), while a significant decline occurred in the Managed IV site (34%). Changes recorded in the remaining sites were not significant. The short-term impact of vaccination observed in the field was complemented by mathematical modelling, representative of the field system, which examined the long-term impact and showed that vaccination of piglets reduced prevalence and increased abundance at the population level. We conclude that IV could become part of integrated TB control schemes, although its application must be tailored for each specific site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Early online date5 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


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