Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 723–729 | Cite as

Effectiveness of Rose Bengal test and fluorescence polarization assay in the diagnosis of Brucella spp. infections in free range cattle reared in endemic areas in Zambia

  • J. B. MumaEmail author
  • A. Lund
  • K. Nielsen
  • G. Matope
  • M. Munyeme
  • K. Mwacalimba
  • E. Skjerve
Original Paper


The effectiveness of Rose Bengal test (RBT) and fluorescence polarization assay (FPA) in diagnosing cattle brucellosis in endemic areas was assessed and RBT and FPA test agreement was compared (n = 319). The sensitivity of RBT and FPA in detecting low Brucella titres were evaluated in paired sera (n = 34). A logistic regression model was constructed to predict cattle test result in FPA using RBT as the main predictor and incorporating bio-data and animal history. There was 79.3% agreement between the RBT and FPA (Kappa = 0.59; Std error = 0.05; p = 0.000) and a high correspondence between high RBT scores and positive FPA results suggesting that sera with high RBT score may not require confirmation with tests such as competitive-ELISA or CFT. High FPA cut-off points were more likely to miss animals with low antibody titres. The RBT had a reduced ability in detecting low antibody titres compared to the FPA. FPA test interpretation was improved if a priori information, such as sex and age was used. Under the challenging disease surveillance conditions prevailing in rural Africa, field-testing methods that are sensitive and specific; allow single animal contact, low technical skills in data interpretation are suitable.


Cattle Brucellosis Endemic area FPA RBT Zambia 



Complement fixation test


Enzyme linked immunossorbent assay


Fluorescence polarization assay


Mili-polarisation units


Rose Bengal test







The Norwegian Council for Higher Education’s Programme for Development Research and Education (NUFU) funded this study and we are greatly indebted to this organization. We also acknowledge the cooperation we received from the farmers and help from field staff under the Ministry of Agriculture. We are further grateful to the staff at the University of Zambia, School of Veterinary Medicine who helped with the work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Muma
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Lund
    • 2
  • K. Nielsen
    • 3
  • G. Matope
    • 4
  • M. Munyeme
    • 1
  • K. Mwacalimba
    • 1
  • E. Skjerve
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Disease Control, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia
  2. 2.National Veterinary InstituteOsloNorway
  3. 3.Animal Disease Research, InstituteCanada Food Inspection AgencyNepeanCanada
  4. 4.Department of Paraclinical Veterinary Studies, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe
  5. 5.Department of Food Safety and Infection BiologyNorwegian School of Veterinary ScienceOsloNorway

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