A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to detect Brucella species in the uterus, udder, spleen, lymph nodes, kidney and liver of three cows which had been naturally infected in an outbreak of brucellosis, and the results were compared with the results of bacteriological investigations. All 18 samples reacted positively in the PCR, but five samples had weak bands after the electrophoretic separation of PCR mixtures. No Brucella strains could be detected in these five samples by bacterial cultivation, but all the other samples gave positive results. A pre-enrichment procedure was necessary for the PCR. A PCR with DNA from eight Yersinia strains gave no amplification product.