Cattle, vaccinated as calves with Cowdria ruminantium-infected tick stabilate, were challenged 6, 12 and 24 months later. In the absence of tick challenge, vaccination of calves induced a partial immunity against subsequent challenge at 12 and 24 months. In animals exposed to ticks, the resistance was no better than that of control, unvaccinated cattle. When they were challenged at 6 months of age there was no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated calves, either in the absence or presence of tick challenge, and all the animals manifested a high degree of natural resistance. This study therefore suggests that the value of vaccinating Afrikander-cross calves in heartwater endemic areas should be further investigated. The indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) test proved to be a valuable means of monitoring the serological response of vaccinated animals and detecting the sero-conversion of animals exposed to tick infection. On one hand, there was good correlation between the febrile reaction and the results of the IFA test on the sera of vaccinated and control cattle challenged with the heartwater agent, in that all sero-positive animals were resistant to challenge. On the other hand, though, a considerable percentage of the animals that were serologically negative were also resistant to challenge.
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