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June 11, 1960


JAMA. 1960;173(6):709-710. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020240097023

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To the Editor:—  In the council report, "Current Status of Brucellosis in Human Beings" in The Journal, Feb. 13, page 697, Dr. Spink made erroneous statements which, unless corrected, will detract from the general knowledge of brucellosis. While it is true that the diagnosis of brucellosis is doubtful unless agglutinins are present in the blood in high titer or unless cultures yield the organism, it is not true that the absence of such laboratory data rules out active brucellosis.Blood cultures show positive results in only about 33% of patients with acute brucellosis, even when the best cultural techniques, which seldom are available in either hospital or private laboratories, are used. When the illness is chronic, it is rare for the organism to be recovered from blood, for this phase of the illness is not bacteremic. It is only during the acute or subacute exacerbation of the chronic illness that

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