Evaluation of three serological tests for brucellosis in naturally infected cattle using latent class analysis

J. B. Muma, Nils Toft, J. Oloya, A. Lund, K. Nielsen, K. Samui, E. Skjerve

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Serological methods are traditionally used in diagnosis of brucellosis. However, the comparative performance of these tests and their accuracy under the local environment in Zambia has not been assessed. Thus, the objective of our study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of three serological tests for brucellosis; Rose Bengal Test (RBT), competitive ELISA (c-ELISA) and Fluorescence Polarisation Assay (FPA) in naturally infected cattle in Zambia without an appropriate reference test to classify animals into truly infected and non-infected.

Serological test results from a study to determine sero-prevalence were used to compare the performance of RBT, c-ELISA and FPA in diagnosing brucellosis in traditional cattle. Since none of the tests can be seen as a perfect reference test or gold standard, their performance in a population of naturally infected cattle was evaluated using latent class analysis which allows the sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) to be estimated in the absence of a gold standard. The highest Se was achieved by the c-ELISA (97%; Credible Posterior Interval (CPI) = 93–100%) and the highest Sp by the FPA (93%; CPI = 85–99%), conversely these tests also had the lowest Sp and Se, respectively, with the RBT performing well in both the Se (93%; CPI = 84–98%) and Sp (81%; CPI = 61–97).
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Brucellosis
  • FPA
  • RBT
  • c-ELISA
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity


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