Brucella abortus strain RB51 is an approved brucellosis vaccine for use in cattle that may have potential as an oral vaccine for use in elk (Cervus elaphus) and/or bison (Bison bison). This study was designed to determine effects of strain RB51 on deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), a nontarget species that could have access to treated baits in a field situation. In February 1994, 90 mice were orally dosed or intraperitoneally injected with 1 × 108 colony forming units strain RB51 and 77 controls were similarly dosed with sterile saline. At weekly intervals through early April 1994, 4 to 6 mice from each group were euthanized, gross necropsies performed, spleens and uteruses cultured, and tissues examined histologically. All orally inoculated mice cleared the infection by 6 wk post-inoculation (PI). While most of the injected mice cleared the infection by 7 wk PI, a few required 9 wk. There were minimal adverse effects attributable to strain RB51. Apparently, strain RB51 would not negatively impact P. maniculatus populations if it were used in a field situation. Also, deer mice appear to be able to clear the vaccine in 6 to 9 wk, thus the probability of these mice transmitting the vaccine to other animals is low.
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