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Brucellosis test added to regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its brucellosis regulations, a USDA news release reported Nov. 4. This amendment will add the fluorescence polarization assay (FPA) to the list of approved brucellosis tests in cattle, bison and swine.

The agency has determined that a rapid detection test that uses fluorescence polarization technology will be highly useful in detecting the presence of Brucella antibodies. A technician performs the test by first measuring a sample of animal serum for natural fluorescence using a specialized instrument. Next, the technician adds an antigen extracted from Brucella abortus cells, coupled with a fluorescent identifier. The sample is then measured again to determine a change in polarization that would indicate the presence of the disease. The test produces either a negative or positive result and provides a cost-effective, accurate, quick and simple-to-perform means of determining if the disease is present.

The FPA test can be used as a screening or confirmatory test, and as a stand-alone test if no other tests are available for confirmatory results for brucellosis classification of animals.

In trials summarized in four scientific publications, the FPA test has proven to be faster and as accurate as other official tests used to diagnose brucellosis. Confirmatory tests are performed to ensure that the tested animal is classified correctly.

Currently, there are 10 official brucellosis tests. APHIS reports that the addition of the FPA test to the list of official brucellosis tests will provide an additional tool for diagnosis and prevention of the disease.

For more information visit www.aphis.usda.gov.

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