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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Methodology article

IS711-based real-time PCR assay as a tool for detection of Brucella spp. in wild boars and comparison with bacterial isolation and serology

Vladimira Hinić1, Isabelle Brodard1, Andreas Thomann1, Milena Holub1, Raymond Miserez2 and Carlos Abril1*

Author Affiliations

1 National Centre for Zoonoses, Bacterial Animal Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance (ZOBA), Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Bern, Vetsuisse Faculty, Länggass-Strasse 122, PO Box, CH-3001 Bern, Switzerland

2 Amt für Lebensmittelsicherheit und Tiergesundheit, Planaterrastrasse 11, 7001 Chur, Switzerland

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BMC Veterinary Research 2009, 5:22  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-5-22

Published: 14 July 2009



Control of brucellosis in livestock, wildlife and humans depends on the reliability of the methods used for detection and identification of bacteria. In the present study, we describe the evaluation of the recently established real-time PCR assay based on the Brucella-specific insertion sequence IS711 with blood samples from 199 wild boars (first group of animals) and tissue samples from 53 wild boars (second group of animals) collected in Switzerland. Results from IS711 real-time PCR were compared to those obtained by bacterial isolation, Rose Bengal Test (RBT), competitive ELISA (c-ELISA) and indirect ELISA (i-ELISA).


In the first group of animals, IS711 real-time PCR detected infection in 11.1% (16/144) of wild boars that were serologically negative. Serological tests showed different sensitivities [RBT 15.6%, c-ELISA 7.5% and i-ELISA 5.5%] and only 2% of blood samples were positive with all three tests, which makes interpretation of the serological results very difficult. Regarding the second group of animals, the IS711 real-time PCR detected infection in 26% of animals, while Brucella spp. could be isolated from tissues of only 9.4% of the animals.


The results presented here indicate that IS711 real-time PCR assay is a specific and sensitive tool for detection of Brucella spp. infections in wild boars. For this reason, we propose the employment of IS711 real-time PCR as a complementary tool in brucellosis screening programs and for confirmation of diagnosis in doubtful cases.