Our project under this funding began January 2016 and this report includes progress from January 2016 until July 31, 2017 (end of project). Our overall objective of this project is to increase the capability to identify infected animals with brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). We are tackling this issue by the creation and validation of a novel molecular assay (qPCR) for B. abortus, B. suis, and B. melitensis. To date, we have identified novel primer/probe regions for this assay, which are currently being validated on. We have run a blinded in parallel assay with tissues that were collected from Yellowstone National Park bison. Tissues were split and half went to United States Department of Agriculture – National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA-NVSL), and half stayed at the University of Wyoming / Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for qPCR testing. Of the animals cultured thus far, our qPCR assay has detected two times times as many positives as culture (n=63). Incorporated with this project was a producer/veterinary educational extension effort to educate stakeholders on brucellosis. With additional funding from the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases – United States Department of Homeland Security and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, we completed meetings with stakeholders in Pinedale, Cody, Greybull, and Sheridan, Wyoming in the summer of 2016. In total over 120 participants were present at these meetings. A panel of experts presented information on brucellosis as well as engage in a discussion on the disease. The panel included two previously quarantined producers, the Wyoming State Veterinarian, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Extension Office, members from the University of Wyoming/Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, an agricultural economist, and an veterinary student extern. We additionally collected 127 brucella negative animals from outside of the endemic area. These samples were tested on our candidate sets for real-time qPCR and no amplification was detected, indicating that the assay was 100% specific.
Our first objective is to identify and validate a novel quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay for that is highly sensitive and specific for brucellosis in the GYA. Ideally, this assay can be used ante-mortem, but will first be validated in post-mortem tissues.
Our second objective is to host producer/veterinarian meetings on brucellosis. These meeting will consist of a panel of brucellosis/animal disease experts and will include a discussion on brucellosis. Included in this meeting will be a pre and post knowledge test for the stakeholders. Factsheets will be provided for reference.