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A serological study on brucellosis in wild boars in Germany

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A recent outbreak of brucellosis in an outdoor pig herd, where wild boars were identified as the most probable source of infection, prompted us to conduct a serological study on wild boars from five federal states of Germany. A total of 885 sera were examined using a combination of screening and confirmatory testing, i.e. indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) followed by complement fixation and slow agglutination tests. Seroprevalences of Brucella suis antibodies in the various regions were between 0 and 28.5% in the ELISA. After confirmatory testing, the amount of positive sera was lower and reached only up to 12.1%, dependent on the method. Although wild boars usually harbour B. suis biovar 2, which is less virulent for humans, a zoonotic risk for persons dealing with these animals and their carcasses cannot be ruled out.

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The authors thank Michaela Ganss for excellent technical assistance, Günter Steinbach for his support and Volker Kaden for providing the samples from Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Baden-Wuerttemberg. We declare that the experiments comply with the current laws of Germany.

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Correspondence to F. Melzer.

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Melzer, F., Lohse, R., Nieper, H. et al. A serological study on brucellosis in wild boars in Germany. Eur J Wildl Res 53, 153–157 (2007).

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