Vaccines for Prevention of Bluetongue and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in Livestock: A North American Perspective

D. Scott McVey, Nigel J Maclachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Bluetongue (BT) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) are noncontagious, insect-transmitted diseases of domestic and wild ruminants caused by related but distinct viruses. There are significant gaps in our scientific knowledge and available countermeasures to control an outbreak of orbivirus-induced disease, whether BT or EHD. Both BT virus (BTV) and EHD virus (EHDV) cause hemorrhagic fevers in susceptible ruminants; however, BT is principally a disease of domestic livestock whereas EHD is principally a disease of certain species of wild, non-African ungulates, notably white-tailed deer. The live-attenuated (modified live virus [MLV]) vaccines available in the United States for use in small ruminant livestock do provide good protection against clinical disease following infection with the homologous virus serotype. Although there is increasing justification that the use of MLV vaccines should be avoided if possible, these are the only vaccines currently available in the United States. Specifically, MLVs are used in California to protect sheep against infection with BTV serotypes 10, 11, and 17, and a MLV to BTV serotype 10 is licensed for use in sheep throughout the United States. These MLV vaccines may need to continue to be used in the immediate future for protective immunization of sheep and goats against BT. There are currently no licensed vaccines available for EHD in the United States other than autogenous vaccines. If there is a need to rapidly develop a vaccine to meet an emerging crisis associated with either BTV or EHDV infections, development of an inactivated virus vaccine in a conventional adjuvanted formulation will likely be required. With two doses of vaccine (and in some instances just one dose), inactivated vaccines can provide substantial immunity to the epizootic serotype of either BTV or EHDV. This strategy is similar to that used in the 2006-2008 BTV serotype 8 outbreaks in northern Europe that provided vaccine to the field within 2 years of the initial incursion (by 2008). Further research and development are warranted to provide more efficacious and effective vaccines for control of BTV and EHDV infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-396
Number of pages12
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Arbovirus
  • Bluetongue
  • Epizootic hemorrhagic disease
  • Immunity
  • Orbivirus
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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