Dunn, John R; Cheng, Hans H; Doeschl-Wilson, Andrea; Bailey, Richard I; Chase-Topping, Margo; Mays, Jody; Anacleto, Osvaldo. (2019). Data for "Transmission from vaccinated hosts can cause dose-dependent reduction in pathogen virulence", [dataset]. University of Edinburgh.
Many livestock and increasingly human vaccines are leaky, blocking symptoms without preventing infection or onward transmission. Leakiness is concerning as it increases vaccination coverage required to prevent disease spread, and can promote evolution of increased pathogen virulence. Despite leakiness, vaccination may reduce pathogen load, affecting disease transmission dynamics. However, the impacts on post-transmission disease development and infectiousness in contact individuals are unknown. Here, we use transmission experiments involving Marek’s disease virus in chickens to show that vaccination with a leaky vaccine substantially reduces viral load in both vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated contact individuals they infect. Consequently, contact birds are less likely to develop disease symptoms or die, show less severe symptoms when these are present, and shed less infectious virus themselves, when infected by vaccinated birds. These results highlight that even partial vaccination with a leaky vaccine can have unforeseen positive consequences in controlling the spread and symptoms of disease.
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