Article

Lights and shades on an historical vaccine canine distemper virus, the Rockborn strain

Department of Veterinary Public Health, University of Bari, Italy.
Vaccine (Impact Factor: 3.49). 02/2011; 29(6):1222-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.12.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Both egg- and cell-adapted canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccines are suspected to retain residual virulence, especially if administered to immuno-suppressed animals, very young pups or to highly susceptible animal species. In the early 1980s, post-vaccine encephalitis was reported in dogs from various parts of Britain after administration of a particular batch of combined CDV Rockborn strain/canine adenovirus type-1 vaccine, although incrimination of the Rockborn strain was subsequently retracted. Notwithstanding, this, and other reports, led to the view that the Rockborn strain is less attenuated and less safe than other CDV vaccines, and the Rockborn strain was officially withdrawn from the markets in the mid 1990s. By sequencing the H gene of the strain Rockborn from the 46th laboratory passage, and a commercial vaccine (Candur(®) SH+P, Hoechst Rousell Vet GmbH), the virus was found to differ from the commonly used vaccine strain, Onderstepoort (93.0% nt and 91.7% aa), and to resemble more closely (99.6% nt and 99.3% aa) a CDV strain detected in China from a Lesser Panda (Ailurus fulgens). An additional four CDV strains matching (>99% nt identity) the Rockborn virus were identified in the sequence databases. Also, Rockborn-like strains were identified in two vaccines currently in the market. These findings indicate that Rockborn-like viruses may be recovered from dogs or other carnivores with distemper, suggesting cases of residual virulence of vaccines, or circulation of vaccine-derived Rockborn-like viruses in the field.

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