Date of this Version
Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 53(1), 2017, pp. 30–36
Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic disease of cattle (Bos taurus) caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. Efforts have been made in the US to eradicate the disease in cattle, but spillover into wildlife and subsequent spillback have impeded progress in some states. In particular, infection in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) has been followed by infection in cattle in some Midwestern states. Infection has also been documented in feral swine (Sus scrofa) on the Hawaiian island of Molokai and in various European countries, but no large-scale survey of antibody exposure to the bacteria has been conducted in feral swine in the US. We tested 488 sera from feral swine collected near previously documented outbreaks of bovine tuberculosis in cattle and captive cervids, in addition to 2,237 feral swine sera collected across the US from 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014. While all but one of the samples were antibody negative, the results are important for establishing baseline negative data since feral swine are capable reservoirs and could be implicated in future outbreaks of the disease.