Brucellosis (cattle)


Bovine brucellosis is a highly contagious disease caused by Brucella abortus. Australia has been free of the disease since 1989 and now bovine brucellosis is considered to be exotic to Australia. The major clinical feature of infection is multiple late term abortions and infertility in cattle.

Diagnosis and tests available


Diagnosis is strongly supported by history, clinical signs, and confirmed by positive culture and serology for Brucella spp.

Tests available


Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Brucella abortus CFT

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Monday to Friday

Up to 5 days

Brucella abortus ELISA

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Thursday and Friday

Up to 5-7 days

Brucella abortus RBT

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Monday to Friday

Up to 5 days

Brucella abortus SAT

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Wednesday and Thursday

Up to 5 days

Culture for Brucella spp.

Fresh tissue or body fluids

Monday to Saturday2

7 days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.
2 Prior approval of delivery and testing on Saturday is required. Please contact Customer Service on 1800 675 623 to seek approval.

Specimen requirements

Specimens as required for the diagnosis of abortion in cattle (see Abortion Investigation)

Blood (without anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood (including at least 2 ml of serum) collected into a plain red top tube
    • Submit chilled

Body fluids

  • Pericardial, thoracic or peritoneal fluid and heart blood from foetus
    • Submit chilled
  • Milk, uterine discharges or vaginal mucus from cows
    • Submit chilled
  • Semen from bulls
    • Submit chilled

Fresh tissue

  • Fresh foetal stomach contents, placenta, liver, lung and spleen
    • Submit chilled
  • Whole foetus and foetal membranes
    • Submit chilled in an insulated container


  • Provide clear documentation on the Specimen Submission Form of each animal including the animal that aborted.
  • Blood samples collected in vacutainer containing separation gel are not suitable for Complement Fixation Test (CFT) or Rose Bengal Test (RBT). Plain tubes are recommended for blood collection.
  • Fees for tests undertaken to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of bovine brucellosis are paid by NSW Department of Primary Industries