American bison (Bison bison) quarantine protocols were established to prevent transmission of brucellosis outside the Greater Yellowstone Area, while allowing for distribution of wild bison for conservation and cultural purposes. Quarantine standards require rigorous testing over 900 days which has led to the release of over 200 bison to Native American tribes. Standards were evaluated using 15 years of laboratory and management data to minimize the burden of testing and increase the number of brucellosis-free bison available for distribution.
All bison (n = 578) from Yellowstone National Park were corralled by the National Park Service and United States Department of Agriculture.
A statistical and management evaluation of the bison quarantine program was performed. Bayesian latent-class modeling was used to predict the probability of nondetection of a seroreactor at various time points, as well as the probability of seroconversion by days in quarantine.
At 300 days, 1 in 1,000 infected bison (0.0014 probability) would not be detected but could potentially seroconvert; the seroconversion model predicted 99.9% would seroconvert by day 294, and 12.8% of bison enrolled in quarantine would seroconvert over time. Using a 300-day quarantine period, it would take 30 years to potentially miss 1 seroreactor out of over 8,000 bison enrolled in the quarantine program.
Reducing the quarantine program requirements from over 900 days to 300 days would allow management of quarantined bison in coordination with seasonal movement of bison herds and triple the number of brucellosis-free bison available for distribution.