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Title: Brucellosis in the United States: Role and Significance of Wildlife Reservoirs

item Olsen, Steven

Submitted to: Vaccine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/19/2010
Publication Date: 10/1/2010
Citation: Olsen, S.C. 2010. Brucellosis in the United States: Role and significance of wildlife reservoirs. Vaccine. 28(S5):F73-F76.

Interpretive Summary: Brucella abortus and Brucella suis are bacteria that can cause disease in domestic livestock and people. National eradication programs have been ongoing for decades in an effort to eliminate this disease and protect public health. Spillover of disease from domestic livestock into wildlife has allowed development of new reservoir hosts. Transmission of brucellosis from wildlife back into domestic livestock is imperiling the financial investment made to eliminate the disease from domestic livestock. This data will be of benefit to the scientists, livestock producers, and regulatory personnel in understanding the epidemiology associated with establishment of wildlife reservoirs of brucellosis and tuberculosis.

Technical Abstract: Regulatory programs for brucellosis in domestic livestock have been active in the United States for almost 80 years. Wildlife reservoirs of brucellosis include bison (Bison bison) and elk (Cervus elaphus nelsonii) for B. abortus whereas B. suis is the predominant species infecting feral swine. The persistence of brucellosis in wildlife reservoirs poses a risk for reintroduction of Brucella into domestic livestock. Reducing the prevalence of brucellosis in wildlife reservoirs is anticipated to be complicated and costly, and the problem is unlikely to be quickly resolved. Although some tools are currently available for use in the wildlife reservoirs, development of new vaccines, diagnostics, and management procedures will most likely be needed for effective control of brucellosis.