Seroprevalence of brucellosis, tularemia, and yersiniosis in wild boars (Sus scrofa) from North-Eastern Germany.
Brucellosis and tularemia are classical zoonotic diseases transmitted from an animal reservoir to humans. Both, wildlife and domestic animals, contribute to the spreading of these zoonoses. The surveillance of the animal health status is strictly regulated for domestic animals, whereas systematic disease monitoring in wildlife does not exist. The aim of the present study was to provide data on the prevalence of anti-Brucella, anti-Francisella and anti-Yersinia antibodies in wild boars from North-Eastern Germany to assess public health risks. A total of 763 sera of wild boars from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania hunted in 1995/1996 were tested using a commercially available Brucella suis ELISA, an in-house lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-based Francisella ELISA, and commercially available Western blot kits for the detection of anti-Francisella and anti-Yersinia antibodies. The Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 LPS is able to induce serological cross-reactions indistinguishable from brucellosis due to a similar immunodominant epitope in the Brucella O-polysaccharide. The Yersinia Western blot assay was, therefore, based on five recombinant Yersinia outer proteins which have been proved to be specific for the serodiagnosis of yersiniosis. Anti-Brucella, anti-Francisella and anti-Yersinia antibodies were detected in 22.0%, 3.1%, and 62.6% of the wild boars, respectively. The high seroprevalence of tularemia and brucellosis in wild boars indicates that natural foci of these zoonoses are present in wildlife in Germany. However, the impact of transmission of zoonotic pathogens from wildlife to livestock is unknown. Only careful and systematic monitoring will help to prevent the (re)emergence of these zoonotic diseases in domestic animals and consequently human infection.