Brucellosis has been known to exist in populations of wildlife since the early part of the 20th century. At the beginning of this century in the US, Brucella abortus is a problem in elk and bison in the Greater Yellowstone Area, B. suis is prevalent in millions of feral swine in most of the southern states, and caribou/reindeer in Alaska are infected with B. suis biovar 4. Brucellosis has been virtually eliminated in domestic livestock in the US after decades of expensive governmental disease prevention, control and eradication programs. Now the most likely source of transmission of brucellosis to humans, and the risk of reintroduction of brucellosis into livestock is from infected populations of free-ranging wildlife. Brucellosis was eradicated from livestock through a combination of testing, vaccination, and removal of infected animals. The use of vaccines to control brucellosis in populations of wildlife and therefore reducing the risk of transmission to humans and livestock has been proposed in several instances. This manuscript reviews research on the use of Brucella vaccines in species of wildlife with emphasis on safety and efficacy.
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University