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


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 44(2), 2008, pp. 247–259.


We investigated the efficacy of oral and parenteral Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin Danish strain 1331 (BCG) in its ability to protect white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) against disease caused by M. bovis infection. Twenty-two white-tailed deer were divided into four groups. One group (n=5) received 109 colony-forming units (cfu) BCG via a lipid-formulated oral bait; one group (n=5) received 109 cfu BCG in culture directly to the oropharynx, one group (n=6) was vaccinated with 106 cfu BCG subcutaneously, and one group served as a control and received culture media directly to the oropharynx (n=6). All animals were challenged 3 mo after vaccination. Five months postchallenge the animals were examined for lesions. Results indicate that both oral forms of BCG and parenterally administerd BCG offered significant protection against M. bovis challenge as compared to controls. This study suggests that oral BCG vaccination may be a feasible means of controlling bovine tuberculosis in wild white-tailed deer populations.