Research in Veterinary Science vol:95 pages:1055-1058
Nematode infections modulate the immune reaction of humans and livestock and may impair immune responses to non-parasitic antigens such as those present in vaccines. In this study, the relationship between antibodies directed against Ostertagia ostertagi, the economically most important nematode infection of cattle in temperate regions, and the magnitude and the kinetics of the antibody response to rabies vaccination was investigated in a commercial dairy herd of 46 cows. During the stabling period, all animals received a single intramuscular administration with a commercial inactivated rabies vaccine (Rabisin®, Merial). The serum antibody levels against O. ostertagi on day 0 were compared with anti-rabies IgM, IgA, IgG1, IgG2 and virus-neutralizing antibodies on days 0, 7, 14 and 21 after vaccination. In addition, to explore the potential effect of newly acquired O. ostertagi infections, the kinetics of the O. ostertagi antibody levels during the first 2months after turnout on pasture were compared with concurrent changes in the rabies antibodies. During the stabling period the O. ostertagi antibody level tended to be positively associated with the magnitude, rate of increase and rate of decrease of the rabies antibodies. However, none of these associations were significant (P>0.05). Over the first 2months at pasture, an increase in O. ostertagi antibody level tended to be associated with a decrease in rabies IgG2 and IgM, but again these associations lacked statistical significance (P>0.20). We conclude that the O. ostertagi antibody level in adult cattle over the housing period has no significant association with the antibody response to rabies vaccination. We recommend that future studies aiming to assess the relationship of nematode infections with humoral immune responses to vaccines are conducted on a larger scale and focus on the summer period when cattle are exposed continuously to nematode challenge from the pasture and hence are actively responding immunologically to nematode antigen exposure.