Pilot field trial of the EG95 vaccine against ovine cystic echinococcosis in Rio Negro, Argentina: 8 years of work.Acta Trop 2019; 191:1-7AT
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is endemic in the Rio Negro province of Argentina. After 30 years of control using praziquantel in dogs the transmission rate to humans and sheep has decreased significantly, however transmission persists. The objective of the study was to assess the inclusion of the EG95 for sheep in the control program and to determine the vaccine's operative feasibility in field conditions. An intervention study was defined in Rio Negro Province in Argentina comprising, in total, an area of 5820 Km2. Lambs received two vaccinations with the EG95 vaccine followed by a single booster injection when the animals were 1-1.5 years of age. Vaccination of lambs born into one trial site was introduced and continued for 8 years. Evidence for Echinococcus granulosus transmission was monitored before and after vaccination by coproantigen ELISA in faecal samples of dog, purgation of dogs to detect E. granulosus worms, necropsy on adult sheep and by ultrasound screening in children of 6-14 years old. 29,323 doses of vaccine were applied between 2009 and 2017, which a vaccination coverage of 80.1%/85.7% (57.3% average for fully vaccinated). Before the introduction of the vaccine 56.3% of the 6-year-old sheep were infected with E. granulosus at necropsy and 84.2% of the farms had infected sheep; 4.3% of the dogs were positive for E. granulosus infection using the arecoline test, and with coproELISA 9.6% of dog fecal samples were positive and 20.3% of the farms had infected dog.After the vaccine was introduced, 21.6% of sheep older than 6 years were found to be infected at necropsy and 20.2% of the farms were found to be infected; in dogs, 4.5% were found positive for E. granulosus using arecoline purgation and with coproELISA 3.7% of samples were positive, with 8.9% of farms having a positive dog. In 2016 only one case of E. granulosus infection was diagnosed by US screening in a 6-14 years old child. Included in the analysis are discussions of difficulties experienced in the field which affected correct vaccine administration as well as social features and practices that may impact on echinococcosis control and the EG95 vaccination program in Rio Negro. Vaccination of sheep with the EG95 vaccine provides a valuable new tool which improves the effectiveness of CE control activities. Vaccination was effective even in a difficult, remote environment where only approximately half the lambs born into the communities were fully vaccinated.