Journal of Pure and Applied MicrobiologyVol. 11 No. 2

Serology versus Real Time PCR in the Diagnosis of Human Brucellosis

Sara El-Hossain Aly Reda1, Mona A. Abd El-Messiah2, Lamiaa A. Madkour2* and Abd El- Meguid Kassem3

1Microbiology Department, Imbaba Fever Hospital, Cairo. 2Microbiology and Immunology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo. 3Department of Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo.

Received on 20 April 2017 and accepted on 03 May 2017



With the unwelcome re-emergence of brucellosis in different regions of the world, an accurate and timely diagnosis of this zoonosis has become a daunting challenge. Due to the vague symptoms of the disease, laboratory confirmation is intensely needed to clinch a definite diagnosis. Consequently, reliable laboratory tests can play a pivotal role in proper diagnosis and disease management. Employing standard tube agglutination test (STAT) as the reference method, this study aimed to evaluate the performance of different serological tests as well as quantitative real time PCR (qPCR) in the diagnosis of human brucellosis. Out of 100 serum samples included in this study, 95 samples yielded positive result with STAT. The highest sensitivity (96%) was recovered with Rose Bengal (RB) test, while the sensitivities of ELISA and qPCR were 79% and 65% respectively. Meanwhile, RB test revealed a 100% specificity, while both ELISA and qPCR had specificities of 80% and 40% respectively. The RB test has proven to be a reliable and appropriate screening test for brucellosis. Likewise, ELISA is an attractive option. Meanwhile, STAT, which is accurate, cost-effective, and easy-to-use, remains the most appropriate test for the diagnosis of human brucellosis, particularly in endemic regions. While PCR may be costly and technically demanding for most laboratories, STAT can be very well adopted by laboratories established in low resource settings. It can provide a definite diagnosis of human brucellosis with minimal labor as well as an affordable cost.

Keywords : Brucellosis; ELISA; qPCR; STAT; Zoonosis.