Blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are the principal vector for Borrelia burgdorferi, among other infectious agents, in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and upper midwestern USA. White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) are the primary and most competent reservoir host of B. burgdorferi in the Northeast. Live reservoir-targeted vaccines (RTVs) to limit enzootic transmission of B. burgdorferi were previously developed and successfully evaluated in laboratory and controlled field trials. A novel, inactivated RTV was developed to minimize regulatory and market challenges facing previous RTVs based on live bacterial or viral vehicles. Thirty-two residential properties in Redding, Connecticut, participated in a field trial of an orally delivered, inactivated RTV efficacy study (2015-2016). During the two-year vaccination period, a significant decrease in the percentage of B. burgdorferi-infected I. scapularis larvae parasitizing P. leucopus was observed, as was a significant reduction in the percentage of infected P. leucopus on RTV-treated properties when compared to control properties. This novel inactivated RTV was effective in reducing numbers of B. burgdorferi-infected I. scapularis and B. burgdorferi-infected P. leucopus on properties where it was distributed.
Keywords: Borrelia burgdorferi; Inactivated expression vehicle; Ixodes scapularis; Peromyscus leucopus; Reservoir-targeted vaccine.