Immunogenicity of Ehrlichia ruminantium Grown in Tick Cell Lines
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Ehrlichia (previously Cowdria) ruminantium, the pathogen which causes heartwater in domestic and wild ruminants, can now be propagated in cell lines from one vector (Amblyomma variegatum) and five non-vector (Ixodes scapularis, I. ricinus, Boophilus decoloratus, B. microplus and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus) tick species. E. ruminantium isolates from West and South Africa and the Caribbean vary in their cell line preference, growth patterns and immunogenic capability. In laboratory trials, certain combinations of tick cell line and E. ruminantium isolate were highly immunogenic in sheep. These trial vaccines were grown under specific in vitro conditions and administered as a single intravenous dose of freshly harvested whole, live culture. Following immunisation and subsequent exposure to virulent E. ruminantium, protected sheep showed no clinical response and a range of serological responses.
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