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Seroresponse (IgG) after Vaccination and Natural Infection of Cattle with Babesia Divergens

Antikroppssvar (IgG) efter vaccination eller efter naturlig infektion med Babesia divergens hos nötkreatur


The antibody response against Babesia divergens in vaccinated calves and in unvaccinated sentinels on farms where vaccination had been practiced routinely, was investigated using a live vaccine.

Sera were obtained before and 3 weeks after vaccination in March and April, approximately 1 month before the animals were put out on pasture. Additional blood samples were collected at the end of the grazing season and again the next spring. At that time previously unvaccinated sentinel calves were vaccinated and their antibody response was tested 3 weeks later. All sera were analysed by an IF-technique. All of the vaccinated calves (100%) were seropositive 3 weeks after vaccination. The seroresponse did not differ signifacantly between animals vaccinated before their first or second grazing season although the age difference was about 12 months. No clinical symptoms of babesiosis were seen in vaccinated animals. The titres were, however, significantly higher 3 weeks after vaccination than 6 months later.

After the grazing season about 42% of the unvaccinated sentinel calves were sero–positve. Two of these calves had clinical babesiosis on pasture in July and September respectively.

The number of sentinel calves which became infected on pasture showed a large farm-to-farm variation although all cattle on the farms once had been infected-/vaccinated with B. divergens. Probably the different number of calves infected was a reflection of a variation in tick density on the different pastures. All calves, which were seropositive after the grazing season, were also seropositive after 6 months indoors. The titres declined during the winter period, but they were still within the range of 2 doubling dilution steps.


Antikroppssvaret hos kalvar efter vaccination mot babesios undersöktes med en indirekt immunofluorescensteknik. I försöket ingick 10 besättningar vilka vaccinerat regelbundet i minst 5 år. Blodprov togs från 5 kalvar före vaccination, 3 veckor efter, efter installning samt ca 1 månad före nästa betessläppning. I samma besättningar lämnades 5 kalvar ovaccinerade. Prov togs även från dessa vid samma tillfällen som från de vaccinerade. Före följande års betessläppning vaccinerades de tidigare ovaccinerade kalvarna och prov togs från dessa 3 veckor efter vaccination.

Tre veckor efter vaccination var alla kalvar seropositiva, såväl de som vaccinerades före första betessläppningen som de som vaccinerades följande vår. Någon skillnad i antikroppstiter sågs ej trots att åldersskillnaden mellan grupperna var 12 månader. Inte heller sågs några kliniska reaktioner efter vaccination i någon av dessa grupper. Ovaccinerade kalvar seronegativa före betessläppning.

Efter betessäsongen var 42 av dessa kalvar seropositiva, 2 hade behandlats för akut babesios under juli–september.

Trots att alla gårdar vaccinerade årligen varierade antalet naturligt infekterade kalvar kraftigt från gård till gård. På 2 gårdar blev 4 resp. 5 av de 5 ovaccinerade kalvarna seropositiva under det att på 3 gårdar blev ingen o vaccinerad kalv seropositiv. Detta är troligen en följd av stora variationer i förekomst av fästingar på de olika betena.

Alla kalvar som var seropositiva vid installningen var det även före nästa års betessläppning. Antikroppstitrarna hade oftast sänkts något. Medelvärdet skiljde sig ej signifikant från titermedelvärdet av seropositiva djur vid installning.


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Christensson, D.A., Morén, T. Seroresponse (IgG) after Vaccination and Natural Infection of Cattle with Babesia Divergens. Acta Vet Scand 28, 393–402 (1987).

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