Approximately 250,000 water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) live in the Campania region of southern Italy where the breeding of this species is very popular. Of these animals, almost 150,000 are concentrated in the Caserta province where the prevalence of Brucella abortus in this species represents approximately 20% at herd level. The Italian brucellosis eradication programme provides a slaughter and vaccination strategy for this province. B. abortus strain RB51 (RB51) has become the official vaccine for the prevention of brucellosis in cattle in several countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of RB51 in water buffalo compared to the B. abortus S19 vaccine (S19). The study was performed in accordance with a protocol described in mice. Female buffalo aged five months were inoculated. Five received a RB51 dosage on two occasions that was three times greater than that approved for use in cattle and a booster after one month, five received B. abortus S19 vaccine at the standard dosage and three controls received a phosphate buffer solution. Buffalo were then challenged with a virulent B. abortus strain 544 thirty days post vaccination. Antibodies that developed in the five animals vaccinated with RB51 were not detected by the Rose Bengal test or complement fixation test (CFT) and were also tested by CFT prepared with RB51 antigen. After culling, B. abortus was cultured from the spleen, retropharyngeal and supra-mammary lymph nodes. A statistical evaluation was performed to assess the immunogenicity values obtained in buffalo vaccinated with S19, compared to those obtained in buffalo vaccinated with the RB51 vaccine and in the unvaccinated control group.