In cases of chronic Brucella spp. infection, results of the rose bengal plate test (RBPT) and indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) should be coherent, as reported in controlled conditions in the literature. We compared RBPT and ELISA results in 58 Alaska grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), eight Kodiak brown bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi), and six Alaska Peninsula brown bears (Ursus arctos gyas). Of the 72 bears tested, 42 (58%) were ELISA positive and 53 (73%) were RBPT positive. However, the coherence between the tests was only fair (K=0.37, SE=0.11), suggesting that either the serologic results were not compatible with Brucella spp. infection or that there was a technical problem with the tests. To address a potential technical problem, we performed a 30-min chloroform/centrifugation cleanup. Following cleanup, the ELISA identified 43 positives (59%) and the RBPT identified 47 (65%), and the coherence between the tests was much improved (K=0.80, SE=0.07). We recommend cleaning wildlife sera with a high lipid content before performing RBPT and performing RBPT and ELISA in parallel to assess coherence. Our results suggest that Alaskan brown bears have been exposed to Brucella spp.
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Vol. 52 • No. 4