25 February 2000

First Ecoli jabs soon

THE first vaccine against E coli mastitis is now licensed in the UK, and will be available through vets from late March.

Due to be launched to vets next month, the vaccine, to be known as Enviracor, will induce immunity against E coli and coliform mastitis, according to its manufacturer, animal health company Pharmacia and Upjohn. No price is available yet.

The companys cattle business manager Terry Evans says a similar product has been available to Californian milk producers for the last 10 years, and throughout the US since 1995.

"The Pharmacia and Upjohn product is used in at least 40% of herds. There are other E coli vaccines available in the US, and overall, about 80% of herds vaccinate against these bugs."

Herds in the US vaccinate cows three times a year to ensure protection, and Mr Evans warns that cutting the number of doses does reduce protection. But he adds that even though the correct vaccination program is followed, cows may still get E coli mastitis.

"Like all vaccines it isnt 100% – it will give about 80% prevention. Cows may still get E coli mastitis, but cases will be much milder."

Currently, at least one other company is thought to be developing a similar vaccine.