Publication Date



BMC Veterinary Research


BACKGROUND: Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a high impact viral disease of livestock for which vaccines are extensively used for limiting the spread of infection. Armenia shares a border with both Turkey and Iran where FMD is endemic, making vaccination an important component of Armenia's control strategy. Additionally, Armenian veterinary services utilize both passive and active monitoring for prevention control.

METHODS: We sought to determine the immune status of animals vaccinated against FMD and to evaluate the effectiveness of our vaccination policy in Armenia. This was conducted in three regions including Shirak, Armavir, and Ararat Region which are located in the buffer zones that border Turkey and Iran. Through active monitoring in 2020, we studied blood serum samples from cattle and sheep using an enzyme immunoassay to determine the level of immune animals in these regions following the use of a polyvalent inactivated vaccine containing FMDV serotypes A, O, and Asia-1 that are relevant for this region. ELISA titers were assessed at 28, 90, and 180 days after vaccination in cattle of three age groups at the time of initial vaccination: 4-6 months, 6-18 months and ≥ 24 months of age with sheep of all ages.

RESULTS: The 3 age groups of cattle had similarly high levels of immunity with over 90% of the cattle showing a ≥ 50% protective titer 28 days after the first vaccination. By day 90, titers in cattle from the initial 4-18-month age groups dropped below 58% across the 3 serotypes and at or below 80% for the oldest cattle ≥ 24 months. Re-vaccination of cattle at 120 days did improve protective titers but never reached the level of immunity of the first vaccination. Sheep showed a similar rapid drop to less than 50% having a ≥ 50% protective titer at 90 days emphasizing the need for continual revaccination.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study have important implications for the current FMD vaccine policy in Armenia and improves our understanding of the rapid loss of protective titers over short periods. Since small ruminants are only vaccinated once per year and vaccination titers drop rapidly by 90 days suggests that they are vulnerable to FMD and that vaccination protocols need to be updated. Cattle should continue to be vaccinated every 3-6 months depending on their age to maintain a protective level of antibodies to protect them from FMD. More studies are needed to understand the possible role of small ruminants in the epidemiology of FMD and to evaluate revaccination at shorter intervals. These results show the concerns of rapid loss of protection to both cattle and small ruminants following 1 or more doses of commercial vaccines and that additional vaccines need to be evaluated in both groups to know how often they must be vaccinated to provide full protection. The addition of challenge studies should also be considered to better understand the level of protection as measured by serology and how it relates to protection from challenge. These results should be considered by anyone using these vaccines in cattle and sheep at longer than 3 month intervals.


Cattle, Sheep, Animals, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus, Armenia, Antibodies, Viral, Viral Vaccines, Vaccination, Cattle Diseases, Ruminants, Sheep Diseases



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