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Serological diagnosis of bovine neosporosis: a Bayesian evaluation of two antibody ELISA tests for in vivo diagnosis in purchased and abortion cattle
  1. S. Roelandt, DVM1,
  2. Y. Van der Stede, DVM, Prof1,2,
  3. G. Czaplicki, DVM3,
  4. H. Van Loo, DVM4,
  5. E. Van Driessche, DVM4,
  6. J. Dewulf, DVM, Prof5,
  7. J. Hooyberghs, DVM6 and
  8. C. Faes, DVM, Prof7
  1. 1Unit Coordination of Veterinary Diagnosis & Epidemiology and Risk analysis (CDD-ERA), Operational Directorate of Surveillance and Interactions, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre (CODA-CERVA), Groeselenberg, 99, Brussels B-1180, Belgium
  2. 2Laboratory of Veterinary Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
  3. 3Unit of Porcine Production, Association Régionale de Santé & d’ Identification Animales (ARSIA), Loncin, Belgium
  4. 4Unit Health Care (Bovine), Dierengezondheidszorg Vlaanderen (DGZ), Torhout, Belgium
  5. 5Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
  6. 6Directorate Control and Policy, Federal Agency for Safety of the Food Chain, Brussels, Belgium
  7. 7Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics (I-BioStat), Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium
  1. E-mail for correspondence: sophie.roelandt{at}


Currently, there are no perfect reference tests for the in vivo detection of Neospora caninum infection. Two commercial N caninum ELISA tests are currently used in Belgium for bovine sera (TEST A and TEST B). The goal of this study is to evaluate these tests used at their current cut-offs, with a no gold standard approach, for the test purpose of (1) demonstration of freedom of infection at purchase and (2) diagnosis in aborting cattle. Sera of two study populations, Abortion population (n=196) and Purchase population (n=514), were selected and tested with both ELISA's. Test results were entered in a Bayesian model with informative priors on population prevalences only (Scenario 1). As sensitivity analysis, two more models were used: one with informative priors on test diagnostic accuracy (Scenario 2) and one with all priors uninformative (Scenario 3). The accuracy parameters were estimated from the first model: diagnostic sensitivity (Test A: 93.54 per cent–Test B: 86.99 per cent) and specificity (Test A: 90.22 per cent–Test B: 90.15 per cent) were high and comparable (Bayesian P values >0.05). Based on predictive values in the two study populations, both tests were fit for purpose, despite an expected false negative fraction of ±0.5 per cent in the Purchase population and ±5 per cent in the Abortion population. In addition, a false positive fraction of ±3 per cent in the overall Purchase population and ±4 per cent in the overall Abortion population was found.

  • Neospora
  • Diagnostics
  • Epidemiology
  • Modelling
  • Statistics

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