Isolation of Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis from Seronegative Cows is a Serious Impediment in Brucellosis Control.
Brucellosis is a zoonosis occurring worldwide, with economic and public health impacts. Its diagnosis remains a challenge in endemic countries and basically relies on serology. The present study was carried out on two dairy cattle farms allegedly free from brucellosis, but with sporadic cases of abortion. The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of Brucella (B.) spp. in uterine discharge of seronegative cows after abortion. In farm I, B. melitensis biovar (bv) 3 was cultured from two of five cows after abortion, while in farm II, B. abortus bv 1 was cultured from three of eleven cows after abortion. These cows had been intrauterinely infected but remained seronegative until abortion and seroconverted only thereafter. Shedding of brucellae in uterine discharge of culture positive/seronegative aborting cows is a serious problem resulting in maintenance and further spread of infection. Thus, serosurveys in endemic countries have to be accompanied by molecular detection and/or culture of aborted material to close the diagnostic window and to hinder uncontrolled spread.