Prevalence of antibodies against Brucella spp. in West Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and East Greenland muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus)
- 247 Downloads
Zoonotic infections transmitted from terrestrial and marine mammals to humans in European Arctic are of unknown significance, despite considerable potential for transmission due to local hunt and a rapidly changing environment. As an example, infection with Brucella bacteria may have significant impact on human health due to consumption of raw meat or otherwise contact with tissues and fluids of infected game species such as muskoxen and polar bears. Here, we present serological results for Baffin Bay polar bears (Ursus maritimus) (n = 96) and North East Greenland muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) (n = 32) for antibodies against Brucella spp. The analysis was a two-step trial initially using the Rose Bengal Test (RBT), followed by confirmative competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays of RBT-positive samples. No muskoxen had antibodies against Brucella spp., while antibodies were detected in six polar bears (6.25%) rendering a seroprevalence in line with previous findings in other Arctic regions. Seropositivity was not related to sex, age or biometrics i.e. size and body condition. Whether Brucella spp. antibodies found in polar bears were due to either prey spill over or true recurrent Brucella spp. infections is unknown. Our results therefore highlight the importance of further research into the zoonotic aspects of Brucella spp. infections, and the impact on wildlife and human health in the Arctic region.
KeywordsArctic Humans One health Zoonosis
Nordic Council of Ministers (NMR NORDEN) is acknowledged for financial support to the project Infectious Zoonotic Diseases Transmissible from harvested Wildlife to humans in the European Arctic (ZORRO). In addition, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, 15. juni Foundation and the Zoological Garden of Copenhagen is acknowledged for funding to the Baffin Bay and Zackenberg polar bear and muskoxen projects, respectively. Daniel Spelling Clausen is acknowledged for his graphical support. According to national legislation for studies of polar bears all polar bear samples were collected with permission of the Government of Greenland´s Department of Fishery, Hunting and Agriculture (Nuuk). File number 66.24/06: 11 February 2009, 24 February 2010, 24 March 2011 (2011 and 2012), and 25 March 2013. Capture and handling of muskoxen in this study followed the guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists (Sikes and Gannon 2011), and research permits were granted by the Greenlandic government (J. No. G13-029 and G15-019) and by the Greenlandic police (J. No 55se-50190-00153-15).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Atwood TC, Duncan C, Patyk KA, Nol P, Rhyan J, McCollum M, McKinney MA, Ramey AM, Cerqueira-Cézar CK, Kwok OCH, Dubey JP, Hennager S (2017) Environmental and behavioral changes may influence the exposure of an Arctic apex predator to pathogens and contaminants. Sci Rep 7:13193CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Born EW, Heilmann L, Holm KL, Laidre K (2011) Polar bears in Northwest Greenland. An interview survey about the catch and the climate. In: Monographs on Greenland Man and Society 41. Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, p 351Google Scholar
- Brew SD, Perrett LL, Stack JA, MacMillan AP, Staunton NJ (1999) Human exposure to Brucella recovered from a sea mammal. Vet Rec 24:483Google Scholar
- Corbel MJ, Day CA (1973) Assessment of fluorescent antibody absorption procedures for differentiation of the serological response to Yersinia enterocolitica serotype IX and Brucella abortus in cattle. Br Vet J 129:67–71Google Scholar
- Eloit M, Schmitt B (2017) Manual of diagnostic tests and vaccines for terrestrial animals 2017. World Organisation for Animal Health, Paris. http://www.oie.int/international-standard-setting/terrestrial-manual/
- Fraser CM (1991) The merck veterinary manual, a handbook of diagnosis, therapy, and disease prevention, and control for the veterinarian, 7th edn. Merck and Co., Inc., Rahway, p 1832Google Scholar
- Godfroid J, Scholz H, Barbier T, Nicolas C, Wattiau P, Fretin D, Whatmore AM, Cloeckaert A, Blasco JM, Moriyon I, Saegerman C, Muma JB, Dahouk SA, Neubauer H, Letesson JJ (2011) Brucellosis at the animal/ecosystem/human interface at the beginning of the 21st century. Prev Vet Med 102:118–131CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Jenssen BM, Dehli Villanger G, Gabrielsen KM, Bytingsvik J, Ciesielski TM, Sonne C, Dietz R (2015) Anthropogenic flank attack on polar bears: interacting consequences of climate warming and pollutant exposure. Front Ecol 3:1–7Google Scholar
- Metcalf HE, Luchsinger DW, Ray WC (1994) Brucellosis. In: Beran GW, Steele JH (eds) Handbook of zoonoses. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 9–39Google Scholar
- Mosbacher JB, Michelsen A, Stelvig M, Hendrichsen DK, Schmidt NM (2016) Show me your rump hair and I will tell you what you ate—the dietary history of muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) revealed by sequential stable isotope analysis of guard hairs. PLoS ONE 11:e0152874CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Piniarneq (2016) Hunting information and registration, p 25. www.businessingreenland.gl
- Rosing-Asvid A, Born EW, Kingsley MCS (2002) Age at sexual maturity of males and timing of the mating—season of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in Greenland. Polar Biol 25:878–883Google Scholar
- Sampasa-Kanyinga H, Lévesque B, Anassour-Laouan-Sidi E, Côté S, Serhir B, Ward BJ, Libman MD, Drebot MA, Makowski K, Dimitrova K (2013) Zoonotic infections in communities of the James Bay Cree territory: an overview of seroprevalence. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol 24:79–84PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Siebert U, Rademaker M, Ulrich SA, Wohlsein P, Ronnenberg K, Prenger-Berninghoff E (2017) Bacterial microbiota in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) from the North Sea of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, around the time of morbillivirus and influenzy epidemics. J Wildl Dis 53:201–214CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sonne C, Andersen-Ranberg E, Rajala EL, Agerholm JS, Bonefeld-Jørgensen E, Desforges JP, Eulaers I, Jenssen BM, Koch A, Rosing-Asvid A, Siebert U, Tryland M, Mulvad G, Härkönen T, Acquarone M, Nordøy ES, Dietz R, Magnusson U (2018) Seroprevalence for Brucella spp. in Baltic ringed seals (Phoca hispida) and East Greenland harp (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and hooded (Cystophora cristata) seals. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 198:14–18CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- SWG [Scientific Working Group to the Canada-Greenland Joint Commission on Polar Bear] (2016) Re-Assessment of the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin Polar Bear Subpopulations: Final Report to the Canada-Greenland Joint Commission on Polar Bear. 31 July 2016, p 636. https://www.gov.nu.ca/sites/default/files/baffin_bay_kane_basin_polar_bear_cgjcpb_report_summary_eng.pdf