Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccination reduces the severity and progression of tuberculosis in badgers

Mark A Chambers, Fiona Rogers, Richard J Delahay, Sandrine Lesellier, Roland Ashford, Deanna Dalley, Sonya Gowtage, Dipesh Davé, Si Palmer, Jacky Brewer, Timothy Crawshaw, Richard Clifton-Hadley, Steve Carter, Chris Cheeseman, Chris Hanks, Alistair Murray, Kate Palphramand, Stéphane Pietravalle, Graham C Smith, Alexandra TomlinsonNeil J Walker, Gavin J Wilson, Leigh A L Corner, Stephen P Rushton, Mark D F Shirley, George Gettinby, Robbie A McDonald, R Glyn Hewinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Control of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in cattle has proven particularly challenging where reservoirs of infection exist in wildlife populations. In Britain and Ireland, control is hampered by a reservoir of infection in Eurasian badgers (Meles meles). Badger culling has positive and negative effects on bovine TB in cattle and is difficult, costly and controversial. Here we show that Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination of captive badgers reduced the progression, severity and excretion of Mycobacterium bovis infection after experimental challenge. In a clinical field study, BCG vaccination of free-living badgers reduced the incidence of positive serological test results by 73.8 per cent. In common with other species, BCG did not appear to prevent infection of badgers subjected to experimental challenge, but did significantly reduce the overall disease burden. BCG vaccination of badgers could comprise an important component of a comprehensive programme of measures to control bovine TB in cattle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1913-1920
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1713
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2011


  • bovine tuberculosis
  • Bacillus Calmette-Guérin
  • wildlife
  • badger
  • vaccination
  • TB


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