Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 19, 2004
Publication Date: November 20, 2004
Citation: Bricker, B.J. 2004. Molecular diagnostics of animal brucellosis - a review of pcr-based assays and approaches. In: Lopez-Goni, I and Moriyon, I., editors. Brucella Molecular and Cellular Biology. Horizon Bioscience. Norfolk, Breat Britain. p. 25-51. Interpretive Summary: Brucellosis is a world-wide bacterial disease of animals that can cause significant economic loss to the livestock industry as a result of reproductive failure and/or infertility. It can also cause disease in humans from the ingestion of unpasteurized infected milk and cheese; from contact with infected animals, especially aborted fetuses, on the farm; and from handling contaminated carcasses during meat processing. Most industrialized countries have government sponsored brucellosis eradication or control programs in place. Some countries, such as the United States have already eliminated some or all forms of the disease from livestock. Nevertheless, until the disease is eliminated world-wide, all countries must continue surveillance programs to prevent an increase in spread or the reintroduction of the disease. A crucial aspect of surveillance involves monitoring animals with very sensitive and very specific tests for brucellosis. This chapter presents an extensive review of the scientific literature on the latest methods for diagnosing brucellosis emphasizing tests based on detecting and identifying specific bacterial DNA. The paper also presents new data on DNA fingerprinting of disease causing bacterial strains to help identify the source of new brucellosis outbreaks.
Technical Abstract: Most of the countries that are faced with the economic losses and public health issues caused by animal brucellosis have governmental programs for the eradication or control of the disease. Accurate diagnostic procedures are critical for the success of these programs. This review examines PCR-based diagnostics for animal brucellosis in three contexts: 1)for screening large populations of livestock to identify infected herds, 2)for confirming the presence of infection in herds and identifying the species involved so that appropriate regulatory actions are taken, and 3)for identifying epizoonotic strains to help epidemiologists trace-back infections to their sources. Emphasis is placed on the diviersity of methods that have been developed thus far, how the tests are used, and which tests are currently being tested and used in the field.