primate assay data sheet
code: B0065 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of
Yersinia pestis, the
etiologic agent of plague, by real time polymerase chain
Yersinia pestis is a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium belonging to the family
Enterobacteriaceae. Formerly called
Pasteurella pestis, it
is a facultative anaerobe that can infect humans and other
animals. Stained, it has a “safety pin” appearance.
main forms of infection can occur in humans, referred to as
pneumonic plague, septicemic plague and bubonic plague. All
three forms have caused high mortality rates in epidemics
throughout human history, including the Black Death (the bubonic
form) that accounted for the death of at least one-third of the
European population in 1347 to 1353.
Rodents are a common reservoir of these bacteria; their fleas
help disseminate the disease. When primates live in close
proximity to infected rodents, the bacteria can pass to primates
via flea bites. Once the bacteria enter the bloodstream,
they migrate to the lymph nodes. The ability of Yersinia
pestis to inhibit phagocytosis allows it to avoid
destruction by immune system cells such as macrophages and
thereby to proliferate in lymph nodes, causing lymphadenopathy.
Airborne transmission to humans results in pneumonic plague, whereas
patients infected by the bubonic or septicemic forms seldom
exhibit pneumonic characteristics. After an incubation period,
patients with pneumonic plague show sudden onset of coughing,
high temperature, and lack of energy; these symptoms increase in
severity over time. Due to its high replication rates, plague
proves fatal in roughly 50% of human cases even with medical
treatment, and is almost universally fatal without treatment.
Traditionally, the "gold standard" for testing fleas for Y.
pestis infection has been the inoculation of mice with
ground flea suspensions. Inoculated mice are monitored for
death, which usually takes at least 21 days; tissues from these
dead mice are then tested by fluorescent antibody
analysis for evidence of Y. pestis infection. This
testing approach, however, requires considerable time and
personnel involvement. False negative results can
occur when death is used as the assay endpoint, because
some mice occasionally survive the infection. Molecular
detection is a rapid, sensitive, specific and safer alternative
for identification of Y.
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical
diagnosis of Y. pestis
Help ensure that primate colonies and populations are free of
Early prevention of spread of these bacteria among a
Minimize personnel exposure to these bacteria
Safety monitoring of biological products that derive
Engelthaler, D.M., Gage, K.L., Montenieri, J.A., Chu, M. and
Carter, L.G. (1999) PCR
Detection of Yersinia
pestis in fleas: Comparison with mouse inoculation. J. Clin.
Specimen requirements: 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) tube, or nasal swab, or skin swab, or lesion swab.
Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See shipping
instructions for more information.
2 business days
real time PCR