Using serology and bacterial culture, we determined the prevalence of Brucella spp. and the antibody to Brucella spp. in a feral swine (Sus scrofa) population in proximity to a cattle herd that was culture positive for Brucella abortus and Brucella suis in north-central Texas, USA. During a prospective cross-sectional quantitative study in April 2005, we collected blood and tissue samples from 40 feral swine within a 30-km radius of the infected herd. Serum samples were tested by the Rose Bengal test, particle concentration fluorescence immunoassay, and fluorescence polarization assay. In addition, tissue samples were cultured, and the Brucella species and biovar determined. Four feral swine were Brucella positive by serology, and two were culture positive for B. suis biovar 1. Of the culture-positive swine, one was concurrently antibody and culture positive, and one was culture positive only. The presumptive source of the B. suis infection in the index cattle herd was likely the surrounding feral swine population. Because B. abortus was not cultured from the feral swine, it is unlikely that the source of the B. abortus infection in the index herd originated from the feral swine. Endemic diseases in feral swine populations can pose a disease threat to livestock and a zoonotic risk to humans.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2