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American BisonA Natural History$
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Dale Lott, Jan van Wagtendonk, and Kevin Shaffer

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233386

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233386.001.0001

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Diseases and Parasites

Diseases and Parasites

(p.108) Chapter 12 Diseases and Parasites
American Bison

Dale F. Lott

University of California Press

Predators aren't the only exploiters of bison. Like all big organisms they are a resource for hundreds of kinds of tiny life forms that use them in a variety of intriguing ways. And size is no protection at all from very small things; it just makes them a bigger target. Many bison in Yellowstone Park have brucellosis, and it is possible that those bison could transmit the disease to cattle if they occupied the same range at the same time. Most diseases go easy on their host, but anthrax, which arrived in North America from Europe around 1800, is a killer.Bacillus anthracis destroys the bison in a kind of slow explosion, and uses the energy to propel its spores into a search for a new set of lungs. Meanwhile, the winter tick quests for most of North America's large mammals, including bison.

Keywords:   parasitism, affliction, Yellowstone Park, brucellosis, cattle, anthrax, Bacillus anthracis, winter tick

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