Fingerprinting tests, or genotyping, from the brucellosis-infected cow found in Paradise Valley, Mont., earlier this year have identified elk as the most likely source of the disease, the Montana Department of Livestock said July 24. According to the report issued by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, "Genotyping results … indicate that the Brucella abortus strain recovered from the adult cow in Montana appears to be similar to strains recovered from bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area."
"The genetic analysis is consistent with other epidemiological information that suggests the transmission of brucellosis from elk to cattle," said Dr. Martin Zaluski, Montana state veterinarian. "We've now had two cases of the disease in two years, and no contact with bison in either case. It supports our conclusion that elk were the source in both cases."
Zaluski said the information is a "crucial" piece of evidence that should pave the way for future efforts to manage the risk of brucellosis transmission from wildlife to cattle.