Contact: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale”
P9-03 Brucellosis in terrestrial and marine wildlife species from the European perspective


European Union
Wildlife species



Brucellosis is a major zoonosis worldwide. The disease infects humans and a wide range of domestic animal and wildlife species resulting in substantial economic losses in the livestock industry and a significant public health impact. The disease is endemic in the Mediterranean basin, including the European parts. Brucellosis has been extensively investigated in humans and domestic animals in several European Union (EU) countries. The disease has been eradicated in livestock, and brucellosis remains a rare event in domestic animals in many EU countries. However, the situation in wildlife is still not obvious. Therefore, the current study aims to clarify the situation of brucellosis in terrestrial and marine wildlife species in Europe. All published articles on wildlife brucellosis in EU countries in the last twenty years have been analyzed. In the last two decades, brucellosis was reported in terrestrial and marine wildlife species in 20 and 10 European countries, respectively. Wild boars and brown hares were the most studied terrestrial wildlife species. Poland, Croatia, and Belgium showed the highest seroprevalences among wild boar caused by B. suis biovar 2. The most investigated marine wildlife species were seals and porpoises. Most samples were collected from dead carcasses, and brucellosis was mainly due to B. ceti and B. pinnipedialis. The highly pathogenic B. melitensis and B. abortus have been reported from terrestrial and marine wild animals, pointing to a zoonotic threat to wild animal handlers and hunters. Countries reporting brucellosis in both terrestrial and marine wildlife species are Germany, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Italy, and the Netherlands. Most reports detected anti-Brucella antibodies by serology, and B. suis biovar 2 was the main isolates found in wild pigs. Currently, no vaccine is available for wild animals. Culling infected wildlife and developing specific diagnostic criteria for wildlife brucellosis remains a challenge.