Outbreak-specific monovalent/bivalent vaccination to control and eradicate virulent ovine footrot

Vaccine. 2013 Mar 25;31(13):1701-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.01.043. Epub 2013 Feb 5.


Footrot is a contagious disease of small ruminants which is caused by the bacterium Dichelobacter nodosus. In its virulent form there are severe economic losses and a very significant animal welfare issue. Sheep and goats can be vaccinated for treatment and prevention of the disease. There are 10 different serogroups of D. nodosus (A-I and M) and immunity is serogroup-specific. When all 10 serogroups are presented together in a vaccine, protection persists for only a few months due to "antigenic competition". Consequently we evaluated the use of sequential monovalent or bivalent vaccines to control/eliminate/eradicate virulent footrot in a longitudinal intervention study on 12 commercial farms in southeast Australia with flock sizes of approximately 1200-4200 sheep. Overall, virulent footrot was eradicated from 4 of the flocks, 2 of which had 2 serogroups, and the others 4 or 5 serogroups. Where there were only 1 or 2 serogroups (3 farms) the clinical response was rapid and dramatic; prevalence was reduced from 45 to 50% before vaccination to 0% (2 farms) or 0.4% (1 farm) after one round of vaccination. In the remaining 9 flocks there were more than 2 serogroups and successive bivalent vaccines were administered leading to eradication of virulent footrot on 2 farms over 4 years and control of the disease on all but 3 of the others. Of the latter farms, 1 discontinued, and 2 initially had poor response to vaccine due to misdiagnosis of serogroup 'M', which was previously unknown in Australia. Control was achieved after administration of a serogroup M vaccine. These results provide clear evidence for control, elimination and eradication of virulent footrot by outbreak-specific vaccination in Australia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Bacterial Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology
  • Dichelobacter nodosus / classification
  • Dichelobacter nodosus / immunology
  • Dichelobacter nodosus / isolation & purification*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Foot Rot / epidemiology*
  • Foot Rot / prevention & control
  • Foot Rot / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Serotyping
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sheep Diseases / prevention & control
  • Sheep Diseases / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccination / methods*


  • Bacterial Vaccines