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Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Brucellosis in European Terrestrial and Marine Wildlife Species and Its Regional Implications

Brucellosis is an important bacterial zoonosis of domestic and wildlife species. This disease has a significant public health concern and is characterized by reproductive failure resulting in economic losses in the livestock industry. Among thirteen known species, B. abortus, B. melitensis, B. suis, and B. canis are human pathogens. Brucellosis has been extensively investigated in humans and domestic animals. However, the situation in wildlife is still not completely reported and studied. Therefore, a systematic literature search and screening were done to clarify the situation of brucellosis in wildlife in Europe. Sixty-five articles from a total of 13,424 reports published between 1991 and 2021 were selected, applying defined inclusion criteria. Wild boars and brown hares were the most often studied terrestrial wildlife species, whereas seals and porpoises were the most often investigated marine wildlife. Poland, Croatia, and Belgium showed the highest seroprevalences of wild boars caused by B. suis biovar 2. In marine wildlife, brucellosis was mainly caused by B. ceti and B. pinnipedialis. Most samples were from carcasses. Thus, sera could not be collected. It is worrisome that B. abortus and B. melitensis were reported from both terrestrial and marine wild animals, posing a zoonotic threat to people exposed to wild animals. Currently, there is no approved vaccine available for wild animals. The main challenges are the development of specific diagnostics and their validation for use in wildlife.



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