Validation of a Novel Molecular Assay for Swine Brucellosis
thesisposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Meagan Soehn
Brucellosis is a zoonotic bacteria caused disease that has around half a million new cases each year worldwide. Sixteen known species in the genus Brucella have been characterized to cause this disease in specific host animals. Swine brucellosis is caused by B. suis and is endemic in feral swine populations. Overlaps between feral swine and domestic swine, cattle, or humans can lead to further transmission of the disease. This leads to both health risks to these populations as well as harm to the swine and cattle industries. Current diagnostic tests are unable to differentiate between B. suis and the cattle form of B. abortus. Additionally, cross-reactions with other bacteria can produce false positives test results. The current gold standard is to culture the bacterium for testing, but this process is lengthy, expensive, requires the animal to be euthanized and puts laboratory workers at a risk of exposure This project aims to validate a new diagnostic quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) as a faster, cheaper, tool to identify B. suis that can also potentially be done with ante-mortem samples. Our results showed that our qPCR test had moderate to good agreement when compared to current diagnostic tests, including perfect sensitivity when compared to culture. Additionally, our PCR had a higher ability to detect infected individuals than the current gold standard or culture. Limitations of this research include localization of the bacteria within tissue samples. This is something for future research to address.