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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1997 Nov;4(6):748-52.

Afipia clevelandensis antibodies and cross-reactivity with Brucella spp. and Yersinia enterocolitica O:9.

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Unité des Rickettsies, CNRS UPRESS-A 6020, Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.


Afipia clevelandensis is a recently described gram-negative bacterium whose potential pathogenic role in human disease is under investigation. Only one strain, from the pretibial lesion of a patient hospitalized with necrotizing pancreatitis for 5 months, has been isolated. Using an indirect immunofluorescence assay to detect anti-A. clevelandensis antibodies, we found a seroprevalence of 1.5% among 30,194 sera routinely submitted for laboratory diagnosis of rickettsial diseases. However, among the 52 patients who were clinically evaluable and who exhibited detectable antibodies against A. clevelandensis, 42% were eventually diagnosed as certainly or probably having brucellosis and 15% were eventually diagnosed as certainly or probably having Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 infection, which is the serotype most often encountered in Europe. Western immunoblotting and cross-adsorption tests showed that an 11.5-kDa proteinase K-labile band and a 21-kDa proteinase-stable band, presumably lipopolysaccharide, were responsible for cross-reactivity among A. clevelandensis, Brucella abortus, and Y. enterocolitica O:9. Other diagnoses included nosocomial infections and various community-acquired diseases for which the role of A. clevelandensis remains undefined. Physicians and clinical microbiologists should be aware of this cross-reactivity in future assessments of the role of A. clevelandensis in human pathology.

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