Short Communication

Evaluation of cross-protection of bluetongue virus serotype 4 with other serotypes in sheep

Gcwalisile B. Zulu, Estelle H. Venter
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 85, No 1 | a1041 | DOI: | © 2014 Gcwalisile B. Zulu, Estelle H. Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 April 2013 | Published: 16 October 2014

About the author(s)

Gcwalisile B. Zulu, Experimental Animals: Onderstepoort Biological Products, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Estelle H. Venter, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Bluetongue (BT) is a non-contagious disease of sheep and other domestic and wild ruminants caused by the bluetongue virus (BTV). Currently 26 serotypes of the virus have been identified. In South Africa, 22 serotypes have been identified and BT is controlled mainly by annual vaccinations using a freeze-dried live attenuated polyvalent BTV vaccine. The vaccine is constituted of 15 BTV serotypes divided into three separate bottles and the aim is to develop a vaccine using fewer serotypes without compromising the immunity against the disease. This study is based on previously reported cross-neutralisation of specific BTV serotypes in in vitro studies. Bluetongue virus serotype 4 was selected for this trial and was tested for cross-protection against serotype 4 (control), 1 (unrelated serotype), 9, 10 and 11 in sheep using the serum neutralisation test. The purpose of the study was to determine possible cross-protection of different serotypes in sheep. Of those vaccinated with BTV-4 and challenged with BTV-1, which is not directly related to BTV-4, 20% were completely protected and 80% showed clinical signs, but the reaction was not as severe as amongst the unvaccinated animals. In the group challenged with BTV-10, some showed good protection and some became very sick. Those challenged with BTV-9 and BTV-11 had good protection. The results showed that BTV-4 does not only elicit a specific immune response but can also protect against other serotypes.


Bluetongue virus serotype 4, attenuated vaccine, challenge, cross-protection, seroconversion


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1. Infection kinetics and antibody responses in Deccani sheep during experimental infection and superinfection with bluetongue virus serotypes 4 and 16
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