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Ileitis is an intestinal disease of pigs commonly caused by Lawsonia intracellularis. Clinical signs range from bloody diarrhoea with sudden death to intermittent diarrhoea and retarded growth. Our study compared two serological and one antigen-based commercial diagnostic assay for the detection of L intracellularis infection in live animals: the bioScreen Ileitis Antibody ELISA (antibody ELISA), the Elanco IFAT IleiTest (immunofluorescent IgG detection) and the Elanco FIRSTtest (antigen ELISA).
The study was conducted in a 250-sow indoor farrow-to-finish farm known to be infected with L intracellularis. Piglets were weaned at 28 days of age and transferred to grower facilities at 12 weeks of age. Two batches of pigs weaned at a three-week interval in September 2010 were monitored from 5 to 23 (batch 2) or 26 (batch 1) weeks of age. Eleven pigs in each batch were randomly selected and individually identified. Every three weeks each of these pigs was bled and approximately 1 g of faeces was collected per rectum.
ELISA bioScreen tests were undertaken at the Laboratory Bio Chêne Vert (Chateaubourg, France); IFATs and FIRSTtests were performed at the Laboratory LDA22 (Ploufragan, France). Serum samples were analysed using the bioScreen Ileitis Antibody ELISA test, and absorbance values were converted into percentages of inhibition values (PI) as per the manufacturer's instructions (bioScreen, Münster, Germany). Qualitative ELISA results were determined using three different thresholds: PI 20 (indeterminate cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer), PI 30 (positive cut-off …