22 October 1999

Ecoli jabs in pipeline

VACCINATION against E coli mastitis, already available in the US, could only be two years away. Work is also underway at the Institute of Animal Health to develop a vaccine against the other major environmental mastitis pathogen, Strep uberis.

Speaking at the British Mastitis Conference, Larry Smith of Ohio State University said cows are particularly susceptible to E coli infection in the late dry period and early lactation.

"E coli vaccines in the US are given at drying off, 30 days prior to calving and within seven days of calving."

Sutton Bonington VLA vet Trevor Jones added that vaccinated herds have fewer cases of clinical mastitis. But because the vaccine doesnt prevent bugs from entering the udder, cell count problems remain, he warned.

"In one trial, 67% of E coli infections present at calving in unvaccinated cows became clinical during the first 90 days of lactation. In vaccinated cows the figure was only 20%. There is a strong case for using vaccines in herds with a clinical E coli mastitis problem," he added.

No vaccines are currently available to immunise cows against Strep uberis, but work is currently under way at IAH and a vaccine is likely to be marketed in about five years time, said the organisations Eric Hillerton.

&#8226 Full report p50