The infection status of cattle for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) was determined by real-time PCR, comparing the levels of IFN-γ mRNA in blood cultures stimulated with either bovine or avian tuberculin with non-stimulated control (phosphate buffer saline, PBS) blood culture. Totally, 137 cattle were tested to validate the assay, in which 54 were IFN-γ real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) positive, while the remaining 83 were found negative. Meanwhile, the IFN-γ ELISA test was carried out using the Bovigam IFN-γ detection ELISA kit and these results were used as a standard. The results of the single intradermal tuberculin tests (SIDT) and IFN-γ RT-qPCR tests were compared and revealed that the RT-qPCR correlated better with the ELISA and its accuracy was higher than SIDT. This indicates the RT-qPCR is a useful diagnostic method for bTB in cattle. However, several limitations remain for our approach, such as lack of a TB lesions or postmortem test results as a gold standard. Further improvements should be made in the future to increase accuracy of diagnosis of bTB in cattle.
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