Canine distemper in Finland

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Title: Canine distemper in Finland
Author: Rikula, Ulla
Belongs to series: 1/2008
ISSN: 1796-4660 (print)
1797-2981 (print)
ISBN: 978-952-225-000-1 (print)
978-952-225-001-8 (pdf)
Abstract: Canine distemper (CD) is one of the longest-known infectious diseases of dogs and is still prevalent in many parts of the world. Vaccination combined with biosecurity measures is the most productive way to prevent and control infectious diseases. The beneficial effects of vaccination are realized not only on the individual but also on the population level, the latter in the form of herd immunity (HI). Control of CD among dogs relies heavily on vaccination, while in fur farms and zoos with several species or large numbers of CD-susceptible animals in close contact, biosecurity measures in some cases offer the only available means for CD control. Modified live CD virus vaccines have been successfully used to control CD among farmed mink, and since no licensed vaccines for other species kept for fur exist, mink CD vaccines have also been used for foxes and raccoon dogs in CD emergency situations. CD vaccines for dogs (Canis familiaris) and mink (Mustela vison) were studied in experimental settings for their ability to induce virus-neutralising (VN) antibodies in target species. Mink vaccines were also assessed in silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes), blue foxes (Alopex lagopus) and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides). Purpose-bred beagle dogs were vaccinated twice with one of three CD vaccines: Candur® SHP, Canlan®-3 or Dohyvac® DA2P, and the levels of VN antibodies were determined at the time of vaccination and one month after the second vaccination. Fur animals were vaccinated once with Distemink®, Distem®-R-TC or vaccine 3 (which was not licensed in Finland) and the levels of VN antibodies were determined at vaccination and 2-4 times 1-4 months afterwards. Significant differences among vaccine groups were found both in the proportion of animals with measurable levels of VN antibodies and in the mean titres of antibodies. The levels of VN antibodies were also determined from a large field sample (n = 4 627) of vaccinated dogs. In addition to the three CD vaccines in the seroconversion study above, additional two vaccines, Duramune®-4 and Nobivac® DHP, had been used in the field. Each dog with a known vaccination history, date of birth, sex and breed was sampled once. Based on the overall geometric mean titre of the dogs vaccinated with a single vaccine brand, vaccines were divided into high-take (Candur®, Nobivac® and Duramune®) and low-take (Dohyvac® and Canlan®) groups. The vaccine groups differed significantly among dogs less than two years of age both in the proportion of dogs with detectable VN antibodies and in the mean titres. Both the number of vaccinations and age were associated with the titre and vaccine usage. To control for possible confounding factors, the comparison of titres among vaccine usage groups was adjusted by classifying them according to the number of vaccinations (one to four) and the age group (less than one, one to two, or over two years old). The same division into low- and high-take vaccines was observed, irrespective of the number of vaccinations the dogs had received. The observations of this seroprevalence study regarding Candur® , Canlan® and Dohyvac® were consistent with the results of the seroconversion study. CD was reintroduced into Finland in 1990 after 16 years of absence. The disease remained at a low endemic level in 1990-1994, reached epidemic proportions in 1994-1995 and disappeared during 1995. The epidemic also involved vaccinated dogs. Among the virologically-confirmed cases the proportion of Dohyvac®-vaccinated dogs was higher than expected from the market shares on the assumption that all the vaccines had an equal take. As a result of this observation, Dohyvac® was withdrawn from and Nobivac® and Duramune® introduced to the market during 1995. A drastic redistribution of the market shares between the low-take and high-take vaccines took place, and this coincided with the decline and dying out of the outbreak. The observed occurrence pattern of CD from 1990-1996 was largely attributed to the changes in the level of HI, although the possible contribution of other factors, such as developments in the dog demographics, was also recognized. It was concluded that an HI above 75% is needed to keep CD in check, i.e., only sporadic cases of CD, at most, can occur. With the currently used vaccines an HI of 80% corresponds to a vaccine coverage of some 94%. It was concluded that the development of vaccine-induced immunity is a multifactorial process depending on the properties of the vaccine, on the individual variation, age, species and other factors influencing the immunocompetence of the host. On the individual level the prevention of clinical signs is sufficient, but on the population level, halting the circulation of the virus is crucial for the definitive control of CD. The ultimate test and criterion for a vaccine is its contribution to herd immunity. Heterogeneity in the dog population contributes to the occurrence of CD.
Date: 2008-02
Subject (ysa): penikkatauti

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