Objective—To determine the feasibility of qualifying individuals or groups of Yellowstone National Park bison as free from brucellosis.
Sample—Serum, blood, and various samples from live bison and tissues taken at necropsy from 214 bison over 7 years.
Procedures—Blood was collected from bison every 30 to 45 days for serologic tests and microbiological culture of blood for Brucella abortus. Seropositive bison were euthanized until all remaining bison had 2 consecutive negative test results. Half the seronegative bison were randomly euthanized, and tissues were collected for bacteriologic culture. The remaining seronegative bison were bred, and blood was tested at least twice per year. Cow-calf pairs were sampled immediately after calving and 6 months after calving for evidence of B abortus.
Results—Post-enrollment serial testing for B abortus antibodies revealed no bison that seroconverted after 205 days (first cohort) and 180 days (second cohort). During initial serial testing, 85% of bison seroconverted within 120 days after removal from the infected population. Brucella abortus was not cultured from any euthanized seronegative bison (0/88). After parturition, no cows or calves had a positive test result for B abortus antibodies, nor was B abortus cultured from any samples.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested it is feasible to qualify brucellosis-free bison from an infected herd following quarantine procedures as published in the USDA APHIS brucellosis eradication uniform methods and rules. Latent infection was not detected in this sample of bison when applying the USDA APHIS quarantine protocol.