Brucellar uveitis: intraocular fluids and biopsy studies

Int J Infect Dis. 2009 Sep;13(5):e206-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2008.12.004. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Background: Ocular brucellosis is usually diagnosed by clinical criteria and serological tests. Little is known with regard to the ocular immunology of brucellosis and the use of intraocular diagnostic tests. We report retrospectively the laboratory findings of patients with ocular involvement associated with brucellosis.

Materials and methods: Patients with uveitis with no evident etiologic diagnosis were evaluated at the Instituto de Medicina Tropical "Alexander von Humboldt" of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and the Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia. Patients were tested for brucellosis, tuberculosis, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, toxocariasis, and human T-cell lymphotropic virus-1. Blood and intraocular fluid samples were examined. Patients with a diagnosis of brucellar uveitis were selected as cases and patients with a diagnosis of uveitis of other etiology were included as controls. The Goldmann-Witmer coefficient was determined.

Results: Twelve patients with clinical and laboratory findings suggestive of brucellar uveitis were considered as cases. Seven patients with uveitis of other etiology were selected as controls. Four (33.3%) patients with ocular brucellosis had negative ocular agglutinations and eight (66.7%) had positive agglutinations. No control cases had positive agglutinations for Brucella melitensis. The sensitivity of the test was 66.7% and the specificity 100%. Only one patient had a positive culture for B. melitensis in subretinal fluid. The Goldmann-Witmer coefficient was calculated in six cases of brucellosis uveitis and five uveitis controls. It was highly positive in three patients with ocular brucellosis. Tissue samples showed lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates.

Conclusions: Intraocular serological tests could be used to support the diagnosis of ocular brucellosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agglutination Tests
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Aqueous Humor* / immunology
  • Aqueous Humor* / microbiology
  • Biopsy
  • Brucella melitensis* / immunology
  • Brucella melitensis* / isolation & purification
  • Brucellosis* / diagnosis
  • Brucellosis* / immunology
  • Brucellosis* / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peru
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Uveitis* / diagnosis
  • Uveitis* / immunology
  • Uveitis* / microbiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G