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Vet J. 2002 May;163(3):299-305.

Detection of Brucella species in the milk of infected cattle, sheep, goats and camels by PCR.

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Department of Agricultural Development, Animal Health Affairs, Doha, State of Qatar, Egypt.


One hundred and three milk samples were collected from 52 cows, 21 ewes, 18 goats and 12 camels. The animals tested positive to at least one of the following: (1) standard tube agglutination test (SAT); (2) Rose Bengal plate test (RBPT); (3) milk ring test (MRT). All milk samples were examined by culture and single-step polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques for detection of Brucella species. The PCR assay amplified Brucella-DNA from 29 bovine milk samples, 10 from sheep, 13 from goats and one from a camel. The direct culture method detected Brucella organisms from 24 samples of cows' milk, 12 from sheep, 10 from goats and failed to detect any Brucella organisms from camels' milk. PCR detected up to 100 colony forming units (CFU) of B. abortus per millilitre of milk in 100% of diluted milk samples, and 1000 CFU of B. melitensis from 70% of milk samples. Although the overall sensitivity of the PCR was higher than the culture method, it should be possible to increase the sensitivity to detect lower numbers of Brucella organisms in field samples. The speed and sensitivity of the PCR assay suggest that this technique could be useful for detection of Brucella organisms in bovine milk, as well as in sheep, goat, and camels milk.

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