Heartwater or cowdriosis is a rickettsial disease of wild and domestic ruminants caused by Ehrlichia ruminantium. It occurs in sub-saharan Africa,Madagascar and the surrounding islands where the Amblyomma vectors are distributed. The disease is established in the Caribbean region where it threatens the American mainland. Anaplasma marginale,the agent of livestock anaplasmosis has a wider distribution. It has been identified on all continents where it is transmitted by ticks and biting flies. Both diseases are classified in list B of Office International des Epizooties. Their presence in a country is an obstacle to international trade of animals and losses induced constitute a major constraint to increased productivity of livestock. The objective of the project is to contribute to increased productivity of livestock by controlling the diseases in a context of sustainable production systems and environmental safety. To do so, integrated control is necessary where specific diagnostic and efficient vaccines are essential to reduce the use of acaricides which raise environment and food safety issues. This aim of the project is to deliver improved vaccines, diagnostic tests, risk mapping and economic analysis of vaccine control. Resuts will be obtained by extensive use of modern genomics: annotation, comparative and functional genomics of vector-pathogen interaction aiming to identify genes candidates. After refinement of the protective immune responses analysis, these candidates will be analysed in vitro and on ruminants for their ability to provide protection. New delivery systems and formulations will be applied to these candidates and evaluated for their ability to provide the best protection in a potential field vaccine. Meanwhile, molecular diagnostic (detection and genotyping) will allow us to establish a regional distribution and risk map to help decision-making in sanitary interventions and as a basis for cost-benefit studies of vaccination.
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