Test Catalog

Test ID: BRUC    
Brucella Culture, Varies

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Diagnosis of brucellosis

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

When this test is ordered, the reflex tests may be performed and charged.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Brucella species are facultative intracellular Gram-negative staining bacilli capable of producing the disease "brucellosis" in humans. Human disease likely is acquired by contact with animals infected with the organism (Brucella abortus, B suis, B melitensis, and occasionally B canis) either by direct contact or by ingestion of meat or milk. The signs and symptoms associated with brucellosis may include fever, night sweats, chills, weakness, malaise, headache, and anorexia. The physical examination may reveal lymphadenopathy and hepatosplenomegaly. A definitive diagnosis of brucellosis is made by recovering the organism from blood, fluid (including urine), or tissue specimens.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

No growth after 14 days

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Isolation of a Brucella species indicates infection.


Cultures of blood and/or bone marrow are positive in 70% to 90% of acute Brucella infections, but much less so in subacute or chronic infections. In these latter instances, culture yield is highest from the specific tissue involved, or serology may be necessary to establish diagnosis.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Although Brucella species are relatively resistant to adverse environmental conditions, excessive delay in the transport of material for culture to the laboratory may result in a lower yield.


If a significant delay is expected, specimens should be refrigerated.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Cem Gul H, Erdem H: Chapter 228: Brucellosis (Brucella Species). In Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. Eighth edition. Edited by JE Bennett, R Dolin, MJ Blaser. Philadelphia, PA, Elsevier Saunders, 2015. pp 2584-2589

2. Procop GW, Church DL, Hall GS, et al: Chapter 9: Miscellaneous Fastidious Gram-Negative Bacilli. In Koneman's Color Atlas and Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology. Seventh edition. Philadelphia, Wolters Kluwer, 2017, pp 472-595