Field trial of six serological tests for bovine brucellosis

D. A. Abernethy*, F. D. Menzies, S. J. McCullough, S. W.J. McDowell, K. E. Burns, R. Watt, A. W. Gordon, M. Greiner, D. U. Pfeiffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)


Serum agglutination (SAT), complement fixation (CFT), indirect ELISA (iELISA), competitive ELISA (cELISA), Rose Bengal (RBT) and EDTA-modified agglutination (EDTA) tests were used in parallel on serological samples from 19,935 cattle in 301 herds. The study herds were selected according to putative exposure to Brucella abortus with cases defined by bacteriological culture or test agreement. No single test identified all infected cattle and, at diagnostic thresholds, relative sensitivity was highest in the iELISA (67.9%) or RBT (78.1%), using bacteriological culture or test agreement, respectively, to define cases. As screening tests, the relative sensitivity of the SAT was highest (75.9% by culture or 84.9% by test agreement), with an optimal threshold of 31 IU. The relative specificity of the diagnostic tests ranged from 99.6% (SAT 31 IU) to 100% (iELISA, RBT and CFT). The trial confirmed the value of the SAT as a screening test and the value of parallel testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-370
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number3
Early online date06 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bovine brucellosis
  • Brucella abortus
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Serology
  • Test accuracy


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