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Complement fixation test to C. burnetii
DefinitionThis test is used to detect the presence of antibodies to Coxiella burnetii in the blood.
How the test is performed
Blood is drawn from a vein ( venipuncture ), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic, and a tourniquet (an elastic band) or blood pressure cuff is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and restrict blood flow through the vein. This causes veins below the tourniquet to distend (fill with blood).
A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an airtight vial or a syringe. During the procedure, the tourniquet is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding .
Infant or young child:
In the initial stage of an illness, few antibodies may be detected. For this reason, serology tests are often repeated several weeks after the initial sample. In the laboratory, the antibodies react with antigens in specific ways that can be used to confirm the identity of a specific microorganism.
There are several serology techniques that can be used depending on the suspected antibodies. Serology techniques include agglutination, precipitation, complement-fixation, and fluorescent antibodies.
How to prepare for the testAdults:
No special preparation is necessary for this test.
Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child's age, interests, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child's age:
How the test will feelWhen the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the test is performedThe test is performed to detect Q fever , which is caused by the rickettsia (atypical bacteria) C. burnetii .
Normal ValuesThe presence of no antibody to C. burnetii is normal. People with past exposure may have antibodies, even if they are not aware that they were exposed.
What abnormal results meanAbnormal results show a rise in the antibody titer , which indicates possible Q fever .
What the risks are
Special considerationsVeins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Update Date: 8/18/2003Daniel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT