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Scavengers reduce potential brucellosis transmission risk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

October 14, 2021

Scavengers likely play an important role in ecosystem energy flow as well as disease transmission, but whether they facilitate or reduce disease transmission is often unknown. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, scavengers are likely to reduce the transmission and subsequent spread of brucellosis within and between livestock and elk by consuming infectious abortion materials, thereby removing the infectious agent from the landscape. We used remote cameras to monitor the time to removal of simulated abortion materials by scavengers at 264 sites from February to June in 2017 and 2018 and assessed the effects of habitat and land management on time to removal in southwest Montana. Time to removal of fetal materials decreased in grassland habitats (x̄">