Evaluation of the long-term immune response in cattle after vaccination against paratuberculosis in two Dutch dairy herds

Vet Microbiol. 2002 May 1;86(3):269-78. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1135(02)00006-8.


In the past decades, vaccination against paratuberculosis in cattle was performed in The Netherlands only on a limited scale. Because of its interference with the diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis, vaccination was restricted to herds with a high prevalence of clinical cases of paratuberculosis and was meant to aid in the economical survival of the farm. Recently, a voluntary paratuberculosis certification program has started, based in part on serological screening of cattle of at least 3 years of age. Herds that have been vaccinated against paratuberculosis are, therefore, likely to encounter problems when entering this program. The aim of this study was to evaluate the immune response resulting from vaccination with a heat-killed paratuberculosis vaccine. Over a period of 12-14 years, new-born calves were vaccinated in two herds. The B-cell response was evaluated using both the complement-fixation test (CFT) and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the cell-mediated immune response was evaluated using the gamma-interferon assay. Data obtained show a marked and prolonged effect of the vaccination on both cellular and humoral immune responses, in particular to the paratuberculosis antigen but also to the bovine tuberculosis antigen, using the respective tests. These responses were detected rapidly after vaccination. The individual responses were highly variable between animals with respect to both the level and to the duration of the evoked immune response. No relation between the results obtained with the ELISA and the CFT was observed. In conclusion, for a large number of vaccinated cattle, a long lasting interference is to be expected with the presently available immunodiagnostic methods for both bovine tuberculosis and paratuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cattle Diseases / immunology
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology
  • Cattle Diseases / prevention & control
  • Complement Fixation Tests / veterinary
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary
  • Female
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / immunology*
  • Netherlands
  • Paratuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Paratuberculosis / immunology
  • Paratuberculosis / prevention & control
  • Vaccination / veterinary
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Inactivated