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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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REVISITING
BRUCELLOSIS
IN THE GREATER
YELLOWSTONE AREA

Committee on Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies

A Consensus Study Report of

images

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS500 Fifth Street, NWWashington, DC 20001

This study was supported by Grant #14-9795-2254-GR between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-45831-3
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-45831-5
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/24750

Additional copies of this publication are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2020 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Cover photo courtesy of Mark Gocke, Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24750.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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Image

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president.

The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.

The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.

Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
×

Image

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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COMMITTEE ON REVISITING BRUCELLOSIS IN THE GREATER YELLOWSTONE AREA1

Chair

TERRY F. MCELWAIN (NAM2), Washington State University

Members

L. GARRY ADAMS, Texas A&M University

CYNTHIA L. BALDWIN, University of Massachusetts Amherst

MICHAEL B. COUGHENOUR, Colorado State University

PAUL C. CROSS, U.S. Geological Survey

RICHARD D. HORAN, Michigan State University

DAVID A. JESSUP, University of California, Davis

DUSTIN P. OEDEKOVEN, South Dakota Animal Industry Board

DAVID W. PASCUAL, University of Florida

VALERIE E. RAGAN, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

GLYNN T. TONSOR, Kansas State University

Staff

PEGGY TSAI YIH, Study Director and Senior Program Officer

JENNA BRISCOE, Research Assistant

ROBIN A. SCHOEN, Director, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources

___________________

1 Staff and affiliations current as of 2015.

2 National Academy of Medicine.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
×

BOARD ON AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES1

Chair

CHARLES W. RICE, Kansas State University, Manhattan

Members

SUSAN CAPALBO, Oregon State University, Corvallis

GAIL CZARNECKI-MAULDEN, Nestlé Purina PetCare, St. Louis, MO

GEBISA EJETA, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

ROBERT B. GOLDBERG (NAS2), University of California, Los Angeles

FRED GOULD (NAS2), North Carolina State University, Raleigh

MOLLY M. JAHN, University of Wisconsin–Madison

ROBBIN S. JOHNSON, Cargill Foundation, Wayzata, MN

JAMES W. JONES (NAE3), University of Florida, Gainesville

A.G. KAWAMURA, Solutions from the Land, Washington, DC

STEPHEN S. KELLEY, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

JULIA L. KORNEGAY, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

JIM E. RIVIERE (NAM4), Kansas State University, Manhattan

Staff

ROBIN A. SCHOEN, Director

CAMILLA YANDOC ABLES, Senior Program Officer

JENNA BRISCOE, Research Assistant

KARA N. LANEY, Senior Program Officer

PEGGY TSAI YIH, Senior Program Officer

___________________

1 Staff and affiliations current as of 2015.

2 National Academy of Sciences.

3 National Academy of Engineering.

4 National Academy of Medicine.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
×

Reviewers

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Mark S. Boyce, University of Alberta

Norman Cheville, Iowa State University

Andrew Dobson, Princeton University

Francis D. Galey, University of Wyoming

Robert Garrott, Montana State University

Colin Gillin, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

N. Thompson Hobbs, Colorado State University

Bret Marsh, Indiana State Board of Animal Health

Michael W. Miller, Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Robert Nordgren, Merial

Daniel O’Brien, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Gary Splitter, University of Wisconsin

Michael Springborn, University of California, Davis

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Gordon H. Orians, University of Washington, and James E. Womack, Texas A&M University. They are responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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Preface

With a global incidence of more than half a million human cases annually, brucellosis is a zoonotic disease of public health concern for much of the world. Fortunately, due in large part to the brucellosis eradication program begun by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) more than 80 years ago, the incidence of human brucellosis in the United States is now less than 0.5 cases/million population, a dramatic reduction from the high of more than 6,000 cases annually in 1947. Unlike in 1947, nearly all U.S. human brucellosis cases are now caused by Brucella melitensis, acquired while traveling outside the United States, not B. abortus.

The only remaining U.S. reservoir of B. abortus infection is in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA), where wildlife-transmitted cases spill over into domestic cattle and domestic bison. Yet this spillover is now occurring with increasing frequency, raising the possibility of brucellosis reoccurrence outside the GYA. This report examines the changing dynamic of brucellosis in the GYA, providing a comprehensive update of what is new since the 1998 National Research Council report Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area and exploring various options for addressing the challenge of brucellosis disease management.

Much has changed in the 20 years since the previous report. There is now clear evidence that transmission of B. abortus to domestic livestock in the GYA has come from infected elk, not bison, posing greater challenges for control of transmission to domestic species. This is coupled with significant changes in land use around the GYA, and the increasing value that the public places on our wildlands and the wildlife they support. Indeed, change has been the norm, even during the course of the committee’s deliberations. New cases have been recognized in cattle and domestic bison since the start of the study. Policies of state agencies trying to counter the increasing incidence of brucellosis have changed. The study was conducted during the 100th anniversary year of the national park system, with Yellowstone National Park (YNP) the “granddaddy” of them all. And the bison, an icon of YNP and a key player in brucellosis control, was officially designated as our national mammal, further raising the visibility of brucellosis management efforts in the GYA.

The committee gained insight from invited speakers and an impassioned audience expressing multiple perspectives in public meetings. In addition to the study’s sponsor, USDA, stakeholders range from additional federal and state agencies to nongovernmentalorganizations, and from the public who gain value and satisfaction from our wildlands and the animals they support to those who have for generations derived their livelihoods from privately owned land in and around the GYA. All are impacted by efforts to manage brucellosis caused by B. abortus in the last remaining disease reservoir. There is a complexity and an interdependency in addressing the issue that mirrors the complexity of the ecosystem in which brucellosis occurs and which defies both simple solutions and a perfect solution. The committee has taken an objective, science-based approach in addressing its Statement of Task and presents this report as a comprehensive starting point for discussions among all stakeholders to address a problem of increasing concern. We trust this report will be helpful in those deliberations.

I would like to express thanks to all the committee members for their dedication and perseverance during the long course of the committee’s deliberations and writing. On behalf of the committee, sincere thanks are also extended to the study director, Peggy Tsai Yih, who did an outstanding job of directing a challenging task, and to Robin A. Schoen and Jenna Briscoe, who provided background support for the study. As always, a National Academies report does not simply happen de novo and capable hands guide

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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the process throughout. Lastly, the committee thanks all those who provided input during multiple public meetings and to those who provided answers in response to what may at times have seemed like an endless list of questions and requests. We are grateful for your efforts in supporting this report.

Terry F. McElwain, Chair
Committee on Revisiting Brucellosis
in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
×
Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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Bioeconomics: A Framework for Making Decisions

A Call to Strategic Action

Research Agenda

Concluding Remarks

References

APPENDIXES

A   BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF COMMI TTEE MEMBERS

B OPEN SESSION MEETI NG AGENDAS.

BOXES, FIGURES, AND TABLES

BOXES

1-1 Statement of Task

7-1 Land Management Risk Assessment to Reduce Disease Risks

FIGURES

1-1 Map of the GYA by jurisdiction

1-2 Map showing the GYA boundary and designated surveillance areas as of 2016

2-1 Map of migration corridors, winter ranges and summer ranges of 9 of 11 major elk herds in the GYA

2-2 Northern Yellowstone elk numbers

2-3 Elk numbers and percentages north of YNP and on Dome Mountain

2-4 Elk management units in Montana, elk hunt units in Wyoming, and game management units in Idaho in relation to the designated surveillance area and the YNP boundary, as of 2014

2-5 Trends in elk numbers in Montana EMUs

2-6 Histogram of the elk group size distribution from the eastern portion of the GYA in Wyoming

2-7 Elk population trends in herds east of YNP

2-8 Elk population trends in herds south and southeast of YNP

2-9 Elk population trends in herds the furthest south of YNP

2-10  Bison range distribution conservation areas and Zone 2 bison tolerance areas

2-11  Bison counts and annual removals, northern and central herds

2-12  Bison population growth rates versus population sizes in the previous year, northern and central herds

2-13  Grazing allotments throughout the GYA

2-14  Active U.S. Forest Service grazing allotments in Bridger-Teton National Forest

3-1 Number of cattle and domestic bison herds infected with B. abortus in the GYA by state from 1990 to 2016

3-2 States to which animals leaving Brucellosis-affected herds in the GYA were traced, 2002-2016

3-3 Maps of seroprevalence in elk using data prior to 2000 and from 2010 to 2015

3-4 Maps of sampling effort in elk prior to 2000 and from 2010 to 2015

3-5 Elk seroprevalence in the East Madison Hunt District (HD) 362 and Gardiner Area HD 313

3-6 Elk seroprevalence in the Cody and Clarks Fork regions of Wyoming

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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3-7 Elk seroprevalence in the South Wind River and West Green River regions of Wyoming, both of which are south and adjacent to regions with supplemental feedgrounds

3-8 Elk seroprevalence over time for two management units in Idaho, District 66A, District 76

3-9 Elk seroprevalence over time for management units in Idaho where the seroprevalence may be increasing (Districts 61, 62, and 67)

3-10  Elk seroprevalence over time for several management units in Idaho (Districts 64, 65, and 66) that are too weakly sampled to assess any temporal trends

4-1 The Greater Yellowstone Area tristate schematic for serological testing of elk

5-1 Seroprevalence of B. abortus in elk by year for test and slaughter pilot project at Muddy Creek Feedground

5-2 Efficacy of elk Brucella strain 19 vaccination

8-1 A bioeconomic assessment of economic costs and benefits

TABLES

2-1 Elk Numbers in EMUs (Hunting Districts) North and Northwest of YNP, But Within the Brucellosis DSA, in 2015

2-2 Numbers of Elk in Herds East of YNP in Wyoming in 2015

2-3 Numbers of Elk in Herds South and Southeast of YNP in Wyoming in 2015

2-4 Elk Herds in Idaho in the GYA

3-1 Brucellosis Herds Detected in the GYA, 2002-2016

4-1 Summary of RB51’s Efficacy in Bison

5-1 Federal Agency Jurisdiction and Involvement in Brucellosis

5-2 State Agency Jurisdiction and Involvement in Brucellosis

5-3 Estimated Number of Samples Collected by Slaughter Plant for FY2017 (October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24750.
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Brucellosis is a nationally and internationally regulated disease of livestock with significant consequences for animal health, public health, and international trade. In cattle, the primary cause of brucellosis is Brucella abortus, a zoonotic bacterial pathogen that also affects wildlife, including bison and elk. As a result of the Brucellosis Eradication Program that began in 1934, most of the country is now free of bovine brucellosis. The Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA), where brucellosis is endemic in bison and elk, is the last known B. abortus reservoir in the United States. The GYA is home to more than 5,500 bison that are the genetic descendants of the original free-ranging bison herds that survived in the early 1900s, and home to more than 125,000 elk whose habitats are managed through interagency efforts, including the National Elk Refuge and 22 supplemental winter feedgrounds maintained in Wyoming.

In 1998 the National Research Council (NRC) issued a report, Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area, that reviewed the scientific knowledge regarding B. abortus transmission among wildlife—particularly bison and elk—and cattle in the GYA. Since the release of the 1998 report, brucellosis has re-emerged in domestic cattle and bison herds in that area. Given the scientific and technological advances in two decades since that first report, Revisiting Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area explores the factors associated with the increased transmission of brucellosis from wildlife to livestock, the recent apparent expansion of brucellosis in non-feedground elk, and the desire to have science inform the course of any future actions in addressing brucellosis in the GYA.

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