By means of an immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT), using in vitro cultured parasites as antigen, antibodies to Neospora species at titres > or = 1/1280 were found in 11 of 120 Scottish cattle that had recently aborted but in only one of 97 cattle from herds in which there had been no recent abortions (P < 0.01). The specificity of the antibodies was confirmed by the lack of cross reactivity between samples with high titres to Neospora and toxoplasma antigen in a direct agglutination test, and by the absence of reactivity at > or = 1/640 in the IFAT of convalescent sera from cattle infected experimentally with Toxoplasma gondii, Sarcocystis cruzi, Eimeria bovis, E alabamensis, Cryptosporidium parvum and Babesia divergens. These results demonstrate that Neospora species infection occurs commonly in aborting cattle in Britain, and that the IFAT may be a useful tool for investigating the infection.
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