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Development of an indirect ELISA for the detection of serum antibodies to Aspergillus fumigatus in captive penguins
  1. A. C. German, BVSc, MSc,MRCVS1,
  2. E. J. Flach, MA, VetMB,MSc, CertZooMed, MRCVS1,
  3. G. S. Shankland, BSc, PhD2 and
  4. J. Edwards, BSc, PhD3
  1. 1 Veterinary Science Unit, Institute of Zoology, Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2LF
  2. 2 Specialist Mycology Laboratory, Robertson Building, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G Il 6NU
  3. 3 Medical Research Council Immunology Laboratories, Sully Hospital, Penarth, South Glamorgan CF6 2YA
  1. Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU

Abstract

Aspergillosis is a significant cause of mortality in captive penguins (Sphenisciformes). An indirect ELISA for the detection of Aspergillus fumigatus.specific immunoglobulin in penguins was developed and standardised by making use of a family.specific antiserum (anti-Aptenodyptes patagonica patagonicus). The results were calculated quantitatively as ELISA units, derived by polynomial regression analysis, and semi.quantitatively as end titres. Serum samples from 61 captive penguins were tested with the assay, and the results were compared with those obtained by counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE). The ELISA results correlated with the CIE results only when end titres were reported (Rs=-0.676, P<0.002). Fifty.seven of the penguins (93 per cent) were seropositive, but the detection of immunoglobulin did not correlate with clinical disease. At Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, Humboldt's penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) demonstrated higher seropositivity than king penguins (Aptenodyptes patagonica patagonicus) (P=0.022), but Humboldt's penguins at Fota Wildlife Park had a significantly higher seropositivity than Humboldt's penguins at Whipsnade (P=0.035).

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