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FRANCE has been officially bovine tuberculosis (bTB) free since 2000, but an increase in the number of outbreaks has been observed in some areas. bTB is detected through inspections at the slaughterhouse and cervical skin test (ST) performed in farms. When non-negative (i.e. positive or doubtful) results to single intradermal tuberculin (SIT) test or single comparative cervical tuberculin (SICCT) test occur, animals are either culled for bacteriological diagnosis or retested with SICCT test at least 42 days later in order to avoid desensitisation phenomenon. During this period, suspect herds are locked up: movements and sales of cattle or products are forbidden. The low predictive value of non-negative results to ST and the cross-reactions with non-pathogenic mycobacteria engender multiple false-positive results. The consequences are economic losses and demotivation of veterinarians, farmers and veterinary officers.
γ-Interferon (IFN) test is known to be an alternative test to detect bTB (De la Rua-Domenech and others 2006). It has been used in European countries, in parallel to ST, to speed up the eradication of bTB in outbreaks. On the contrary, its serial use, in the days following non-negative results to screening ST, has not been much studied in literature (Ryan and others 2000, Praud and others 2015) and is not allowed by the European Directive CE/64/432. An experimental protocol validated by the European Commission was developed in France, in order to assess the …