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Vet Microbiol. 1996 Jan;48(1-2):101-12.

Infection of cattle with Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 a cause of the false positive serological reactions in bovine brucellosis diagnostic tests.

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Unité d'Immunologie-Microbiologie, Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur, Belgium.


During the last four years, an increasing number of cattle herds were classified positive by brucellosis screening tests in areas of Belgium and France free of the disease. No clinical symptom of brucellosis was reported in these animals and no Brucella abortus strains were isolated. After two years, no brucellosis outbreak was registered in all of the herds concerned. On this basis, all the serological reactions observed were classified as false positive. An ELISA using Yersinia Outer membrane Proteins (YOPs) as antigens was developed in order to discriminate between a Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 infection and a Brucella abortus infection. Antibodies against YOPs were detected in sera from Y. enterocolitica O:9 experimentally infected cattle (n = 4) but not in sera from B. abortus experimentally infected cattle (n = 4). In a field study, 66.7% of the 174 serum samples from cattle presenting false positive serological reactions showed anti-YOPs antibodies whereas only 10% of 454 sera, classified negative by the brucellosis screening tests, showed anti-YOPs antibodies. Our results suggest that infections with Y. enterocolitica O:9 may cause false positive reactions in brucellosis testing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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