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B.M. Scurlock

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Every winter, government agencies feed ???6000 metric tons (6 ?? 106 kg) of hay to elk in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) to limit transmission of Brucella abortus, the causative agent of brucellosis, from elk to cattle. Supplemental feeding, however, is likely to increase the transmission of brucellosis in elk, and may be affected by climatic factors, such as snowpack. We assessed these possibilities using snowpack and feeding data from 1952 to 2006 and disease testing data from 1993 to 2006. Brucellosis seroprevalence was strongly correlated with the timing of the feeding season. Longer feeding seasons were associated with higher seroprevalence, but elk population size and density had only minor...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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While many wildlife species are threatened, some populations have recovered from previous overexploitation, and data linking these population increases with disease dynamics are limited. We present data suggesting that free-ranging elk (Cervus elaphus) are a maintenance host for Brucella abortus in new areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Brucellosis seroprevalence in free-ranging elk increased from 0-7% in 1991-1992 to 8-20% in 2006-2007 in four of six herd units around the GYE. These levels of brucellosis are comparable to some herd units where elk are artificially aggregated on supplemental feeding grounds. There are several possible mechanisms for this increase that we evaluated using statistical...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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