Oral immunization of wild boar and domestic pigs with attenuated live vaccine protects against Pseudorabies virus infection
In domestic pigs strict control measures and the use of gene-deleted marker vaccines resulted in the elimination of pseudorabies virus (PrV) infections in many parts of Europe and North America. In free-roaming feral pigs and wild boar populations, however, serological surveys and monitoring in The Americas, Europe and North Africa provided serological and virological evidence that PrV is more widely distributed than previously assumed. Thus, there is a constant risk of spillover of PrV infection from wild pig populations to domestic animals which could require intervention to limit the infection in wild pigs. To investigate whether oral immunization of wild boar by live-attenuated PrV could be an option, wild boar and domestic pigs were orally immunized with 2 × 10 6 TCID 50 of the attenuated live PrV vaccine strain Bartha supplied either with a syringe or within a blister, and subsequently intranasally challenged with 10 6 TCID 50 of the highly virulent PrV strain NIA-3. Oral immunization with live-attenuated PrV was able to confer protection against clinical signs in wild boar and against transmission of challenge virus to naïve contact animals. Only two vaccinated domestic pigs developed neurological signs after challenge infection. Our results demonstrate that oral immunization against PrV infection in wild boar is possible. In case increasing PrV infection rates in wild boar may enhance the risk for spillover into domestic pig populations, oral immunization of wild boar against PrV in endemic areas might be a feasible control strategy.