East Coast fever (ECF) is a devastating tick-borne disease of cattle caused by the protozoan parasite, Theileria parva. The disease causes high mortality (greater than 80%) in susceptible cattle populations. ECF occurs in 11 countries in eastern, southern and central Africa where the tick vector, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, is found. ECF causes major economic losses throughout the region and affects both high-grade dairy cattle and young zebu cattle in smallholder and pastoralist systems and ranches.
The infection and treatment method (ITM) vaccine was developed at Muguga, Kenya, between 1967 and 1977. Since then, various versions of the vaccine have been developed, each differing in the strains of theilerial parasites used to inoculate cattle. The most widely used version is known as the ‘Muguga cocktail’, a combination of three parasite stabilates.
To take stock of the current situation and identify improvements in the vaccine, including delivery, manufacturing processes and the product itself, ILRI and GALVmed recently convened a workshop on the ‘distribution, delivery and improvement of the Infection and Treatment Method vaccine for East Coast fever (ECF)’.
Participants were drawn from Departments of Veterinary Services, regulatory authorities, international development
organizations, manufacturers, research institutions, and private and public partners involved in the delivery of the
vaccine. It was perhaps the first such meeting of the full ‘vaccine chain’ for East Coast fever.