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

  • Published source details Chambers M.A., Rogers F., Delahay R.J., Lesellier S., Ashford R., Dalley D., Gowtage S., Davé D., Palmer S., Brewer J., Crawshaw T., Clifton-Hadley R., Carter S., Cheeseman C., Hanks C., Murray A., Palphramand K., Pietravalle S., Smith G.C., Tomlinson A., Walker N.J., Wilson G.J., Corner L.A.L., Rushton S.P., Shirley M.D.F., Gettinby G., McDonald R.A. & Hewinson R.G. (2011) Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination reduces the severity and progression of tuberculosis in badgers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278, 1913-1920.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use vaccination programme

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Use vaccination programme

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Use vaccination programme

    A replicated, controlled study in 2006–2009 on 15 wild-caught, captive Eurasian badgers Meles meles in England, UK (Chambers et al. 2011) found that vaccinating badgers against tuberculosis reduced the likelihood of tuberculosis infection, and reduced both the speed and the extent of infection in infected animals. Three out of nine badgers vaccinated with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) became infected with tuberculosis, compared to six out of six badgers which had not been vaccinated. The time taken for infection to develop was longer in vaccinated badgers (two, eight and 12 weeks), than in non-vaccinated badgers (2–4 weeks). Vaccinated badgers had fewer lesions (median score: 4) than non-vaccinated badgers (median score: 9–12.5). Fifteen tuberculosis-free wild badgers were caught and housed in groups of up to four. Nine badgers were injected with 1 ml of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Danish strain 1331 vaccine and six were not vaccinated. After 17 weeks, all 15 badgers were infected with tuberculosis. Every 2–3 weeks badgers were anaesthetized and examined for tuberculosis infection and, 29 weeks after vaccination, the badgers were killed and examined for tuberculosis infection. (Years of study assumed from information provided, as not specified).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Use vaccination programme

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2006–2009 in an area of mixed woodland and farmland in Gloucestershire, UK (Chambers et al. 2011, same experimental set-up as Carter et al. 2012) found that vaccinating Eurasian badgers Meles meles against tuberculosis reduced the number of animals infected. Vaccination with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) reduced the number of badgers with tuberculosis in vaccinated groups (15/179 infected, 8%) compared to non-vaccinated groups (18/83 infected, 22%). In 2009, badgers were caught in cage traps, set for two consecutive nights, twice a year, at every active sett in a 55 km2 study area. Badgers were tested for tuberculosis using three tests. Social groups were randomly allocated to “vaccinated” or “not vaccinated” treatments. Every badger caught in a vaccination group was injected with 1 ml of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) Danish strain 1331 vaccine once per year. A total of 179 badgers from 38 social groups were vaccinated, while 83 badgers from 26 social groups were unvaccinated.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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