Mycobacterium cell wall fraction immunostimulant (Amplimune™) efficacy in the reduction of the severity of etec induced diarrhea in neonatal calves
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Calf diarrhea is a common disease in young animals and the primary cause of productivity and economic losses to cattle producers worldwide. According to the report from the National Animal Health Monitoring System for U.S. dairy, more than fifty percent of the deaths of un-weaned calves is attributed to severe diarrhea. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strain K99+ remains the most common pathogen isolated from calves which are younger than three days of age. Dam vaccination and the use of antimicrobials remain the most used prophylactic and treatment options for calf diarrhea. The rise in antibiotic resistance around the world has been a major concern and new alternative therapies have been explored. Mycobacterium Cell Wall Fraction (MCWF) is a biological immunomodulator that has a potential in multiple veterinary health services such as the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases and anticancer therapy in both small and large animals. The efficacy of the MCWF in reducing the severity of neonatal calf diarrhea and its associated mortality, following challenge with ETEC K99+ was evaluated. Twenty-three calves were placed into two experimental groups. Eleven calves received a single 1 mL dose of MCWF intravenously (IV) at the onset of clinical signs of disease following challenge. Twelve non-treated, challenged calves were retained as controls. The severity and duration of diarrhea was significantly reduced in the MCWF treated group compared to untreated controls. In addition, the mortality rate in the MCWF treated group was significantly reduced to 10% while the observed mortality in the control group reached 58%. Data from the current study suggest that MCWF could be used as an alternative treatment to reduce the severity, duration and mortality of ETEC induced diarrhea in neonatal calves.