Date of this Version
Between February 1995 and June 1999, specimens from seven aborted bison (Bison bison) fetuses or stillborn calves and their placentas, two additional placentas, three dead neonates, one 2-wk-old calf, and 35 juvenile and adult female bison from Yellowstone National Park (USA) were submitted for bacteriologic and histopathologic examination. One adult animal with a retained placenta had recently aborted. Serum samples from the 35 juvenile and adult bison were tested for Brucella spp. antibodies. Twenty-six bison, including the cow with the retained placenta, were seropositive, one was suspect, and eight were seronegative. Brucella abortus biovar 1 was isolated from three aborted fetuses and associated placentas, an additional placenta, the 2- wk-old calf, and 11 of the seropositive female bison including the animal that had recently aborted. Brucella abortus biovar 2 was isolated from one additional seropositive adult female bison. Brucella abortus was recovered from numerous tissue sites from the aborted fetuses, placentas and 2-wk-old calf. In the juvenile and adult bison, the organism was more frequently isolated from supramammary (83%), retropharyngeal (67%), and iliac (58%) lymph nodes than from other tissues cultured. Cultures from the seronegative and suspect bison were negative for B. abortus. Lesions in the B. abortus-infected, aborted placentas and fetuses consisted of necropurulent placentitis and mild bronchointerstitial pneumonia. The infected 2-wk-old calf had bronchointerstitial pneumonia, focal splenic infarction, and purulent nephritis. The recently-aborting bison cow had purulent endometritis and necropurulent placentitis. Immunohistochemical staining of tissues from the culture-positive aborted fetuses, placentas, 2-wk-old calf, and recently-aborting cow disclosed large numbers of B. abortus in placental trophoblasts and exudate, and fetal and calf lung. A similar study with the same tissue collection and culture protocol was done using six seropositive cattle from a B. abortus-infected herd in July and August, 1997. Results of the bison and cattle studies were similar.