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Vet Microbiol. 2002 Dec 20;90(1-4):447-59.

Diagnosis of brucellosis by serology.

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Animal Diseases Research Institute, 3851 Fallowfield Road, Nepean, Ont, Canada K2H 8P9.


Serological diagnosis of brucellosis began more than 100 years ago with a simple agglutination test. It was realized that this type of test was susceptible to false positive reactions resulting from, for instance, exposure to cross reacting microorganisms. It was also realized that this test format was inexpensive, simple and could be rapid, although results were subjectively scored. Therefore, a number of modifications were developed along with other types of tests. This served two purposes: one was to establish a rapid screening test with high sensitivity and perhaps less specificity and a confirmatory test, usually more complicated but also more specific, to be used on sera that reacted positively in screening tests. This led to another problem: if a panel of tests were performed and they did not all agree, which interpretation was correct? This problem was further compounded by the extensive use of a vaccine which gave rise to an antibody response similar to that resulting from field infection. This led to the development of an assay that could distinguish vaccinal antibody, starting with precipitin tests. These tests did not perform well, giving rise to the development of primary binding assays. These assays, including the competitive enzyme immunoassay and the fluorescence polarization assay are at the apex of current development, providing high sensitivity and specificity as well as speed and mobility in the case of the fluorescence polarization assay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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