What is the role of serologic testing in the diagnosis of brucellosis?

Updated: Apr 22, 2021
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, FAAP, MA(Cantab); Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Serologic testing is the most commonly used method of diagnosing brucellosis. Repeated serologic testing is recommended if the initial titer is low.

The tube agglutination test, developed by Bruce, measures antibodies against smooth lipopolysaccharide (LPS); it remains the most popular test tool for the diagnosis of brucellosis. The 2-mercaptoethanol test detects immunoglobulin G (IgG), and titers higher than 1:80 define active infection. A high IgG antibody titer or a titer that is higher after treatment suggests persistent infection or relapse. Other tests, such as tray agglutination (TAT) and modified TAT, are also popular.

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