A monoclonal blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and an indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA) were applied to serum samples from 124 specific pathogen-free (SPF) breeding and multiplying herds, which participate in the routine serological surveillance of the Danish SPF programme. Clinical and pathological observations of the herds and microbiological culturing of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae were used to calculate herd sensitivity, herd specificity and herd predictive values for the two serological assays. The ELISA was superior to the IHA in herd sensitivity and herd specificity, with values of 93 per cent and 96 per cent, respectively, for the ELISA, and 61 per cent and 92 per cent for the IHA. During the six month period of evaluation 2.5 per cent of the herds were infected with M hyopneumoniae each month. At this level the IHA was found to have a positive herd predictive value of 16 per cent, compared with 39 per cent for the ELISA. The negative herd-predictive value on the same level was 99.8 per cent for the ELISA and 98.9 per cent for the IHA. If the assays were applied to a group of herds with a herd prevalence of M hyopneumoniae infection of 30 per cent (as is the case with the production herds in the Danish SPF programme) the predictive value of a positive herd diagnosis would be 91 per cent for the ELISA and 76 per cent for the IHA, and the predictive value of a negative herd diagnosis would be 97 per cent with the ELISA and 85 per cent with the IHA.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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