Brucellosis laboratory findings

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Raviteja Guddeti, M.B.B.S. [2] Danitza LukacVishal Devarkonda, M.B.B.S[3]


The diagnosis of brucellosis can be confirmed by either a positive bacterial culture or a positive titer of anti-brucella antibodies on serological testing.

Laboratory Findings

Laboratory findings of brucellosis include the following:[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Laboratory findings in Brucellosis
Blood Complete blood count Complete Blood Count may reveal:
ESR Normal or raised
CRP Normal or raised
Liver function test Liver function test may reveal:
Serological tests Serological Tests
  • There are two types of serological tests, based on:
  • For a diagnosis to be made using serology, two serum samples are required:
    • The first serum sample should be taken when a person is acutely ill (≤7 days after symptom onset)
    • The second serum sample should be drawn 2-4 weeks later to check for a rise in antibodies (a fourfold or greater rise in antibodies would bean an individual is positive for brucellosis).
    • If submission of paired sera is not possible, a probable diagnosis can be made with a single serum sample.
  • Brucella microagglutination test (BMAT)
  • Rose Bengal
    • Rose bengal has a positive predictive value is approximately 99% for patients with acute and chronic brucellosis.
    • Rose bengal measures IgM and IgG antibodies.
  • 2-mercaptoethanol (2-ME)
  • Antihuman globulin (Coombs)
    • Used in chronic brucellosis patients with negative seroagglutination because they have IgG non-agglutinating antibodies.
  • Indirect enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Dipstick assays
    • New and promising, based on the binding of Brucella IgM antibodies, and found to be simple, accurate and rapid.
  • Brucellacapt test
    • A single-step immunocapture assay for the detection of total anti-Brucella antibodies, is an increasingly used adjunctive test when resources permit.
Molecular tests PCR
  • PCR is a fast and specific diagnostic tool to confirm the diagnosis of brucellosis
  • Many varieties of PCR have been developed (e.g. nested PCR, realtime PCR and PCR-ELISA) and found to have superior specificity and sensitivity in detecting both primary infection and relapse after treatment.
  • Unfortunately, these have yet to be standardized for routine use, and some centres have reported persistent PCR positivity after clinically successful treatment, fuelling the controversy about the existence of prolonged chronic brucellosis.[14][15][16][17]

Tissue Biopsy

Liver and lymph node biopsy may reveal non-caseating granuloma.[2][4]

CSF analysis

CSF analysis may reveal lymphocytosis and low glucose level.[2][4]

Synovial fluid analysis

Synovial fluid analysis may reveal lymphocytic predominate with granulocyte count which does not generally exceed 15,000 cells/microL and low glucose levels.[2][4]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Brucellosis. CDC. Accessed on February 4, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Brucellosis "Dennis Kasper, Anthony Fauci, Stephen Hauser, Dan Longo, J. Larry Jameson, Joseph Loscalzo"Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19e Accessed on December 9th, 2017
  3. Colmenero JD, Reguera JM, Martos F, Sánchez-De-Mora D, Delgado M, Causse M; et al. (1996). "Complications associated with Brucella melitensis infection: a study of 530 cases."Medicine (Baltimore)75 (4): 195–211. PMID 8699960
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Mantur BG, Amarnath SK, Shinde RS (2007). "Review of clinical and laboratory features of human brucellosis."Indian J Med Microbiol25 (3): 188–202. PMID 17901634
  5. Pappas G, Akritidis N, Bosilkovski M, Tsianos E (2005). "Brucellosis."N Engl J Med352 (22): 2325–36. PMID 15930423.
  6. Dean AS, Crump L, Greter H, Hattendorf J, Schelling E, Zinsstag J (2012). "Clinical manifestations of human brucellosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis". PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 6 (12): e1929. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001929. PMC 3516581. PMID 23236528.
  7. Young EJ (1995). "Brucellosis: current epidemiology, diagnosis, and management."Curr Clin Top Infect Dis15: 115–28. PMID 7546364
  8. Aygen B, Doganay M, Sumerkan B, et al. Clinical manifestations, complications and treatment of brucellosis: a retrospective evaluation of 480 patients. Med Malad Infect 2002; 32:485.
  9. Zamani A, Kooraki S, Mohazab RA, Zamani N, Matloob R, Hayatbakhsh MR; et al. (2011). "Epidemiological and clinical features of Brucella arthritis in 24 children". Ann Saudi Med. 31 (3): 270–3. doi:10.4103/0256-4947.81543. PMC 3119967. PMID 21623056.
  10. Mousa AM, Bahar RH, Araj GF, Koshy TS, Muhtaseb SA, al-Mudallal DS; et al. (1990). "Neurological complications of brucella spondylitis."Acta Neurol Scand81 (1): 16–23. PMID 2330811
  11. Pappas G, Bosilkovski M, Akritidis N, Mastora M, Krteva L, Tsianos E (2003). "Brucellosis and the respiratory system."Clin Infect Dis37 (7): e95–9. PMID 13130417doi:10.1086/378125
  12. Herrick JA, Lederman RJ, Sullivan B, et al. Brucella arteritis: clinical manifestations, treatment, and prognosis. Lancet Infect Dis 2014; 14:520.
  13. Ariza J, Bosilkovski M, Cascio A, Colmenero JD, Corbel MJ, Falagas ME; et al. (2007). "Perspectives for the treatment of brucellosis in the 21st century: the Ioannina recommendations". PLoS Med. 4 (12): e317. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040317. PMC 2222927. PMID 18162038.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Pappas G, Akritidis N, Bosilkovski M, Tsianos E (2005). "Brucellosis". N Engl J Med. 352 (22): 2325–36. doi:10.1056/NEJMra050570. PMID 15930423.
  15. Brucellosis. CDC. Accessed on February 1, 2016
  16. Brucellosis. Wikipedia. Accessed on January 29, 2016
  17. Brucelosis. Wikipedia. Accessed on February 2, 2016
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 "Public Health Image Library (PHIL)".

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