Objectives: To determine whether vaccination with a killed vaccine prevents fecal shedding of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis, to compare effectiveness of a culture and cull program in vaccinated and nonvaccinated herds, and to compare paratuberculosis-related preventive management in vaccinated and nonvaccinated herds.
Sample population: 58 commercial Dutch dairy herds.
Design: Cross-sectional study (study A) in vaccinated (n = 25) and nonvaccinated (29) herds of dairy cows. Longitudinal study (study B) in vaccinated (n = 2) and nonvaccinated (2) herds of dairy cows.
Procedure: In study A, fecal samples were obtained from adult cows in herds with and without a history of vaccination with a killed vaccine. Management measures were evaluated. In study B, fecal samples were obtained 4 times at 6-month intervals from cows older than 6 months. Cows that had positive test results were removed from the herd directly after the outcome of the culture.
Results: In study A, differences were not detected among the 25 herds that were vaccinated; culture results were positive for M avium subsp paratuberculosis in 4.4% of herds. In 29 herds that had not been vaccinated, culture results were positive in 6.7%. In study B, the percentage of positive results on culture decreased from 10.9% and 5.7% to 3.5% and 0%, respectively in the 2 vaccinated herds. In the 2 nonvaccinated herds, percentages decreased from 6.1% and 16.5% to 0% and 2.3%, respectively. Management practices were different between herds that were vaccinated and herds that were not; owners of herds that were not vaccinated followed more preventive management procedures and practiced less feeding of raw milk to calves.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Vaccination of calves with a killed vaccine does not prevent transmission of M avium subsp paratuberculosis; therefore, hygienic practices remain essential in herd management.