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Also Known As: Brucella Agglutination Titer, Brucella Antibody Titer, Brucella Antibodies Test, Standard Tube Agglutination Test, BMAT

What Is A Brucella Antibodies (IgG, IgM), EIA with Reflex to Agglutination Test?

It is a blood test that helps look for the presence of antibodies in your blood against Brucella. 
Brucella is a bacteria that leads to the disease of brucellosis. It can be defined as a bacterial infection that usually occurs by handling animals and milk products infected with the Brucella bacteria. Once you have brucellosis, your body starts making antibodies to fight against the bacteria. This serum test checks for those antibodies in your blood serum.

The Brucella bacteria mostly infect animals like dogs and livestock, including sheep, cows, pigs, goats, and even camels. The bacteria can also be found in some ocean mammals like seals. Although this disease is quite rare, it is most commonly found in the Middle East, Latin America, and the Mediterranean. This is why it is called Malta fever or Mediterranean fever as well.

When you are exposed to Brucella bacteria, you may develop brucellosis. Even though the symptoms do not show up right away, if left untreated, you may start to feel unusually weak after a few months. You may experience fever, chills, and headaches; you might even lose your appetite and become anorexic. The bacteria can damage your joints, heart, and brain in the long run. Brucellosis can cause different infections to keep coming back, and if you are pregnant with this condition, it can lead to early miscarriage and infect your unborn child.

What is the test used for?

The Brucella species are gram-negative staining bacilli capable of producing the disease in humans. The human conditions are likely to be acquired by close contact with infected animals either through direct contact or by ingestion of milk or meat. The physical examination by a doctor might reveal hepatosplenomegaly and lymphadenopathy, but a definitive diagnosis can be made by recovering the organism from blood serum or tissue specimens.

In case of suspected brucellosis, the Brucella antibodies (IgG, IgM) EIA with reflex to agglutination can assist in the confirmed diagnosis. The antibodies to Brucella species are not easily detectable until 1-2 weeks following the severity of symptoms, so the serum specimens may be negative even in the patients with brucellosis.

Why And When Do You Need A Brucella Antibodies (IgG, IgM), EIA With Reflex To Agglutination Test?

Your doctor or health care provider can recommend this test if you are showing symptoms of brucellosis. This condition is hard to identify, especially during the early stages, so it is best to see the doctor if you have the following symptoms:

  • Chills
  • High fever
  • Sweats
  • Complete loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headaches
  • Joint, muscle, and back pain

The symptoms may disappear for months and then come back. If you have chronic brucellosis, you might experience the following symptoms even after treatment:

  • Recurrent fevers
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Joint inflammation or arthritis
  • Inflammation of the inner lining of the heart chambers or endocarditis
  • Arthritis of joints where spine and pelvis connect, i.e., sacroiliitis

You are also eligible for this test if your health care provider thinks you have been exposed to the Brucella bacteria. They may think so if:

  • You have symptoms of illness and work in a slaughterhouse
  • You are working on a dairy farm and have been in contact with the bacteria through a wound
  • You hunt wild pigs, deer, and other animals with the symptoms of the illness
  • You have recently traveled to Mexico, Spain, or Greece, where brucellosis is common
  • You are a veterinarian and have been in contact with the bacteria

What Kind Of Sample Is Required For The Test?

Your doctor will confirm the diagnosis of brucellosis by testing your blood for the Brucella bacteria or by testing the blood serum for the presence of antibodies to the bacteria. 

A doctor or lab technician will draw blood from a vein in your arm during the test. Once they have the recommended amount of blood, your sample will be sent to the designated laboratory for further examination.

Do You Need To Prepare For The Test?

Standard blood tests require no special preparations beforehand. You can eat or drink as usual, but it is better to let your doctor know about using certain medications and supplements as some of them can interfere with the accurate test results.

Are There Any Risks To This Test?

Taking a blood sample with a needle in the arm carries risks that might include infection, 
bleeding, bruising, and even feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you might feel flight stinging sensation or pain. The puncture site can be sore afterward, but the symptoms are always mild and disappear within a few days.

What do the test results mean?

Many factors can affect your lab test results, including the method the laboratory uses to do the test as well as the severity of your symptoms. Even if your test results are different from the normal ranges, you should not have a problem. To understand what the test results mean for you, it is better to consult a doctor or health care provider right away.

A normal or negative test result means that you have not come in contact with the bacteria causing brucellosis. However, the antibodies are hard to detect during the early stages, so your doctor can ask you to come back for another test in 3 weeks. Here it is important to mention that the infection with other bacteria like Vibrio and Yersinia can also lead to false-positive results.

A positive or abnormal test result usually indicates let you have been in contact with the bacteria causing brucellosis. The antibodies will be present in your blood, but it does not always mean that you have an active infection. Your provider will ask you to repeat the test after a few weeks to make a conclusive diagnosis and start the treatment.

Related Tests: CT scan, Febrile Agglutinins Test, ELISA Or Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay

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