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.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1