Field evaluation of a novel oral reservoir-targeted vaccine against Borrelia burgdorferi utilizing an inactivated whole-cell bacterial antigen expression vehicle

Exp Appl Acarol. 2020 Feb;80(2):257-268. doi: 10.1007/s10493-019-00458-1. Epub 2020 Jan 2.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi*
  • Connecticut
  • Ixodes / microbiology*
  • Larva
  • Lyme Disease / prevention & control
  • Lyme Disease / veterinary*
  • Peromyscus / microbiology*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Vaccines