The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is updating the National Bovine Brucellosis Surveillance Plan to better meet current program needs while still maintaining disease-free status with the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).
Bovine brucellosis is a contagious disease of domesticated cattle primarily caused by the bacteria B. abortus. USDA established the National Brucellosis Eradication Program to eradicate this disease from U.S. livestock and since 2009, all 50 states have been designated as free from brucellosis.
While brucellosis has been eradicated from domesticated herds, B. abortus is still present in wild bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA), which has led to occasional spillover to livestock. In 2012, APHIS implemented a risk-based surveillance system that focused on the GYA to maximize the impact of Agency efforts.
APHIS is now updating the surveillance plan to further refine this risk-based system. The plan will primarily use risk-based slaughter surveillance, focusing on plants that process cattle from the GYA. VS will review these slaughter establishments annually to ensure the sampling reflects the risk to the national herd. APHIS will also continue to conduct and support targeted surveillance, including the sampling of cattle with reproductive issues on-farm and in livestock markets, conducting required testing of animals for export, and any other routine testing.
The updated surveillance plan will maximize the efficiency of Agency resources while maintaining our ability to detect brucellosis with a high degree of confidence. The plan will ensure that we continue to produce data we can share with WOAH and our international trading partners to show our continued status as free from brucellosis.