Western and dot blotting techniques were compared with complement fixation tests (CFT), indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), mycoplasma culture and gross lung pathology to detect Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides sc, the cause of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), in two groups of Italian cattle. None of the animals showed any clinical signs before slaughter. In group A, seven of the 20 cattle had characteristic lung lesions of acute and chronic CBPP but only six were positive by CFT. Western blotting detected antibody in eight of the animals, of which six had lesions and significant CFT titres (>50 per cent fixation at a serum dilution of 1/10) and two had neither. In group B, seven of the 17 cattle had lesions characteristic of CBPP, and 12 were seropositive by CFT. Western blotting detected antibody in 13 of the animals including one which had a negative CFT titre. The ELISA was less sensitive than either CFT or Western blotting, detecting antibody in five animals in group A and nine animals in group B. The dot blotting test correlated well with Western blotting but gave a small number of ambiguous results. The causative organism was isolated from four of the 20 cattle in group A and six of the 17 cattle in group B.
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