We collected complete sets of tissues, fluids, and swabs (approx 30) from 37 Yellowstone National Park (YNP) female bison (Bison bison) killed as a result of management actions by the Montana Department of Livestock and YNP personnel. Our goal was to establish the relation between blood tests demonstrating an animal has antibody to Brucella and the potential of that animal to be infected during the second trimester of pregnancy, the time when most management actions are taken. Twenty-eight of the 37 bison were seropositive adults (27) or a seropositive calf (1). We cultured samples using macerated whole tissues plated onto 4 Brucella-selective media and incubated with added CO2 for 1 week. Specimens from 2 adult seropositive females were contaminated, thus eliminating them from our data. Twelve of the remaining 26 seropositive adult and calf female bison (46%) were culture positive for Brucella abortus from 1 or more tissues. Culture positive adult females had high serologic titers. All 11 adults measured <0.115 on the Particle Concentration Fluorescence Immunoassay (PCFIA), and 9 (82%) were <0.085. Complement fixation (CF) titers were >3+ at 1:40 for 10 of 11 (91%) animals. All culture positive female adults had either a PCFIA ???0.080 or a CF reaction ???4+ at 1:80. However 5 (36%) bison with high titers were culture negative for B. abortus. Our findings on the relation between Brucella serology and culture are similar to those reported from studies of chronically infected cattle herds.
Additional publication details
Brucellosis in Yellowstone National Park bison: Quantitative serology and infection