The bacterial and viral agents of BRDC: immune evasion and vaccine developments

01 Apr 2021
Bell RL, Turkington HL and Cosby SL

Bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) is a multifactorial disease of cattle which presents as bacterial and viral pneumonia. The causative agents of BRDC work in synergy to suppress the host immune response and increase the colonisation of the lower respiratory tracts by pathogenic bacteria. Environmental stress and/or viral infection predispose cattle to secondary bacterial infections via suppression of key innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. This allows bacteria to descend the respiratory tract unchallenged. BRDC is the costliest disease among feedlot cattle, and whilst vaccines exist for individual pathogens, there is still a lack of evidence for the efficacy of these vaccines and uncertainty surrounding the optimum timing of delivery. This review outlines the immunosuppressive actions of the individual pathogens involved in BRDC and highlights the key issues in the development of vaccinations against them.