Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2004
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Citation: Olsen, S.C., Rhyan, J., Gidlewski, T., Goff, J.P., Stoffregen, W.C. 2004. Safety of Brucella abortus strain RB51 in Black Bears. Journal of Wildlife Diseases.40(3):429-33. Interpretive Summary: Brucella abortus is a disease that causes abortion and associated economic losses in infected cattle herds. The infection of bison and elk with Brucella abortus in Yellowstone National Park pose a risk to the completion of the Brucellosis Eradication Program for cattle. Development of a protective vaccine for bison would be beneficial in resolving the controversy caused by brucellosis in bison. As use of a vaccine in bison might lead to environmental exposure of bears, these studies evaluated the safety of a potential vaccine for bison, Brucella abortus strain RB51, in bears. Our data suggests that exposure of black bears to strain RB51 causes no clinical illness or effects on reproduction. This data will be of benefit to the National Park Service and the states of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho in their efforts to resolve the brucellosis problem in the Yellowstone National Park bison and elk. Development of an environmentally safe brucellosis vaccine for bison reduce the risk of transmission of brucellosis from bison to livestock, which will facilitate the completion of the Brucellosis Eradication Program.
Technical Abstract: In two studies conducted from October, 1999 to March, 2000 and December, 2000 to April, 2001, adult black bears (Ursus americanus) were orally inoculated with 1.8 or 3.1 x 10**10 colony-forming units (CFU) of Brucella abortus strain RB51 (SRB51, n=12) or 2 ml of 0.15M NaCl solution (saline, n=11). Antibody titers to SRB51 in serum obtained prior to vaccination, at 8 weeks after vaccination, or at necropsy at 21 or 23 weeks after vaccination, did not differ (P > 0.05) between SRB51-vaccinated and nonvaccinated bears. The SRB51 vaccine strain was recovered from tissues obtained at necropsy from 1 of 6 SRB51-vaccinated bears in study 1, but none of the 6 SRB51-vaccinated bears in study 2. Vaccination of black bears with SRB51 did not influence (P > 0.05) reproductive performance..