U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service



Iker A. Sevilla https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3968-3390

Date of this Version



Pathogens 2020, 9, 199;



© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license


The wild pig population on Molokai, Hawaii, USA is a possible reservoir for bovine tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium bovis, and has been implicated in decades past as the source of disease for the island’s domestic cattle. Heat-inactivated vaccines have been effective for reducing disease prevalence in wild boar in Spain and could prove useful for managing M. bovis in Molokai wild pigs. We designed an experiment to test this vaccine in wild pigs of Molokai genetics. Fifteen 3–4-month-old pigs were orally administered 106–107 colony forming units (cfu) of heat-inactivated M. bovis (Vaccinates; n = 8; 0.2 mL) or phosphate buffered saline (Controls; n = 7; 0.2 mL). Each dose was administered in a 0.5 mL tube embedded in a fruit candy/cracked corn mix. Boosters were given seven weeks post-prime in the same manner and dose. Nineteen weeks post-prime, pigs were orally challenged with 1 × 106 cfu of virulent M. bovis. Twelve weeks post-challenge, pigs were euthanized and necropsied, at which time 23 different tissues from the head, thorax, and abdomen were collected and examined. Each tissue was assigned a lesion score. Ordinal lesion score data were analyzed using non-zarametric Wilcoxon Signed Rank test. Effect size was calculated using Cohen’s d. Four of eight Vaccinates and four of seven Controls had gross and microscopic lesions, as well as culture-positive tissues. Vaccinates had statistically lower lesion scores than Controls in the following areas: gross thoracic lesion scores (p = 0.013 Cohen’s d = 0.33) and microscopic thoracic lesion scores (p = 0.002, Cohen’s d = 0.39). There were no differences in head lesion scores alone, both gross and microscopic, nor were there differences when comparing combined gross and microscopic head and thoracic lesion scores. These results are indicative that this vaccination protocol affords a modest degree of infection containment with this vaccine in Molokai wild pigs.