Brucella Antibody, Agglutination

The Brucella Antibody, Agglutination test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Brucella Antibody Agglutination test is a laboratory procedure that detects the presence of antibodies against the Brucella bacteria in the blood. Brucella bacteria cause brucellosis, a disease that affects multiple organ systems and can lead to long-term complications if not addressed. The test utilizes the principle of agglutination, where antibodies in the patient's serum will clump (agglutinate) with Brucella antigens if they are present.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why a Brucella Antibody Agglutination Test May Be Ordered

Healthcare providers may order the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test when a patient presents with symptoms consistent with brucellosis, especially if the patient has a history of:

  1. Consuming unpasteurized dairy products.
  2. Working in slaughterhouses or with livestock.
  3. Being in an area where brucellosis is endemic.
  4. Close contact with animals that have or are suspected of having brucellosis.

Symptoms of brucellosis can be diverse and may include fever, fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, sweating, headache, weight loss, and more.

What a Brucella Antibody Agglutination Test Checks For

The test specifically checks for antibodies that the body produces in response to an infection with Brucella bacteria. The presence of these antibodies indicates either a current or past infection.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside a Brucella Antibody Agglutination Test

To provide a comprehensive diagnosis, other tests might be ordered alongside the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test:

  1. Brucella Culture: This test tries to grow the Brucella bacteria from samples like blood or bone marrow, providing definitive evidence of the infection.
  2. Complete Blood Count (CBC): To check for abnormalities such as anemia or an increased number of white blood cells, which can indicate an infection.
  3. Liver Function Tests: Since brucellosis can affect the liver, these tests can determine liver health.
  4. Bone Marrow Biopsy: In cases of chronic or severe disease, to identify the bacteria directly.

Conditions or Diseases Requiring a Brucella Antibody Agglutination Test

The primary disease diagnosed using this test is:

  1. Brucellosis (also known as Malta fever, Mediterranean fever, or Undulant fever): A bacterial infection caused by different species of Brucella bacteria.

How Health Care Providers Use the Results of a Brucella Antibody Agglutination Test

If the test results are positive, it indicates the presence of antibodies against Brucella, suggesting a current or past infection:

  1. Diagnosis: Alongside clinical symptoms and other test results, a positive Brucella Antibody Agglutination test can confirm a diagnosis of brucellosis.
  2. Treatment Decisions: Results can guide treatment choices, primarily the introduction or continuation of antibiotics specific to Brucella.
  3. Epidemiological Investigation: Positive results, especially in unexpected regions, can lead to investigations to track the source and prevent further infections.

A negative result generally suggests that a person has not been exposed to the bacteria. However, it's essential to consider the timing; antibodies might not be detectable in the early stages of the disease. If brucellosis is still suspected, the test might be repeated, or other tests may be employed.

Most Common Questions About the Brucella Antibody, Agglutination test:

Purpose and Clinical Indications

Why is the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test ordered?

The Brucella Antibody Agglutination test is typically ordered when someone has symptoms consistent with brucellosis, such as fever, fatigue, weakness, and joint pain. The test helps diagnose an infection caused by the Brucella bacteria, which can be contracted from consuming raw milk or close contact with infected animals.

How does the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test help in the diagnosis of brucellosis?

The Brucella Antibody Agglutination test detects the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system in response to Brucella bacteria. A positive result indicates that the person has been exposed to the bacteria and has developed antibodies against it, suggesting an active or past infection.

Interpretation of Results

What do positive results in the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test indicate?

A positive Brucella Antibody Agglutination test result indicates the presence of antibodies against Brucella bacteria in the blood, suggesting a current or past infection. However, a single positive result may not conclusively diagnose an active infection, and further confirmatory tests or repeated testing might be needed.

Can someone have brucellosis with a negative Brucella Antibody Agglutination test result?

Yes, a negative test result doesn't always rule out brucellosis, especially if the test was conducted shortly after exposure. It might take some time for the body to produce detectable levels of antibodies. If brucellosis is strongly suspected, the test might be repeated after a few weeks, or other diagnostic methods may be employed.

Clinical Implications

How do the results of the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test influence clinical management?

A confirmed positive result would guide healthcare providers in administering appropriate antibiotic treatment to combat the Brucella infection. It's crucial to diagnose and treat brucellosis promptly to prevent potential complications like endocarditis or meningitis.

What other tests might be ordered alongside the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test?

Depending on the patient's clinical presentation, other tests like blood cultures or imaging studies (such as X-rays) might be ordered to assess the extent of the disease or rule out other conditions. Blood cultures can identify the presence of the Brucella bacteria directly.

Relationships with Other Health Conditions

Are there other conditions that might produce a positive Brucella Antibody Agglutination test result?

While a positive Brucella Antibody Agglutination test is suggestive of brucellosis, there might be other causes for a positive result. Cross-reactivity can occur with other bacteria like Yersinia enterocolitica or Vibrio cholerae. Therefore, it's essential to interpret the results in the context of clinical presentation and other diagnostic findings.

If someone has been treated for brucellosis in the past, will the Brucella Antibody Agglutination test still be positive?

Yes, a person who has been treated for brucellosis in the past might still have detectable antibody levels, which can result in a positive Brucella Antibody Agglutination test. This doesn't necessarily mean they have an active infection. Clinical context and history are vital in interpretation.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Brucella Antibody Agglutination

Brucella Antibody Titer

*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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