What is the Bangs Vaccine?
“Should I Bangs vaccinate my heifers?”

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Miniature-Cattle.com » Health » Bangs Vaccine for Brucellosis

Subject: Brucella Abortus Vaccine (Strain RB-51)
Concerns: breeders, sellers & buyers of breeding heifer calves, interstate transport
Content-Location: ADCA Information Sheet
Source: Vets Corner, Jeff Collins, DVM

“Bang’s Disease” is a name that was given to cattle Brucellosis caused by the bacteria Brucella abortus.

Most states have attained Brucellosis free status which has changed the requirements for moving cattle across state lines fairly recently. In the past, Bangs vaccination was required to move female cattle across any state line. Now, many states have taken this requirement off their list. So often the question arises:

“Do I really need to Bangs vaccinate my heifers?” If we never see an outbreak of cattle Brucellosis, then no, it’s not critical. But if we do see an outbreak and our cattle herds are not vaccinated for Brucella abortus than yes, we could have a mess on our hands. (As an example, imagine ranching in Montana, Wyoming or Idaho, near Yellowstone Park--where the wild bison & elk population still carry brucellosis, and spread it in water streams). A vaccinated herd would be immune to an outbreak and would not have to go through a required extermination. (Yes, slaughtering all your cattle.) In addition, vaccinated heifers and cows are more marketable as some states still require the vaccination for incoming cattle. Many buyers, especially out west, prefer Bangs vaccinated females.

Vaccinating females for Brucella abortus is limited to heifers between the ages of 4 & 12 months.

Bangs vaccination can only be done by a licensed, accredited veterinarian who applies an official USDA metal tag and tattoo to the right ear at the time of vaccination.

Bangs was the last name of the Danish veterinarian who first isolated Brucella abortus as the causative agent back in 1897. Once a vaccine was formulated to immunize cattle against Brucella abortus it took on the name “Bangs vaccine.” Brucellosis primarily affects cattle, buffalo, bison, pigs, sheep, goats, dogs, camels, elk (and other wild ruminants), occasionally horses, and, very recently, seals.

The Bangs vaccine is a live culture of Brucella abortus and care must be taken that we are not accidentally injected with any of the vaccine. Brucellosis is contagious to humans, and in man this disease is called Undulant Fever.

The Undulant Fever disease is usually transmitted to humans through contaminated and untreated milk and milk products, and by direct contact with infected animals, and animal carcasses. Transmission can be through abrasions of the skin from handling infected animals. In the US, infection occurs more frequently by ingesting contaminated raw milk and dairy products. Groups at elevated risk include abattoir (slaughterhouse) workers, meat inspectors, animal handlers, veterinarians, and laboratory workers. In the US, there are fewer than 0.5 cases per 100,000 population. Most cases are reported in California, Florida, Texas, and Virginia. Antibiotics (such as doxycycline and rifampin) are effective against Brucella. However, Brucella is localized intracellularly (within cells) and requires the use of more than one antibiotic for several weeks.

Sources: American Dexter Cattle Association dextercattle.org, medicinenet.com

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go home little cow
go home little cow

© circa 2010
publisher: Vintage Publishers
published online: March 2019
author: Donna Grace