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Testing for TB in cats

S. G. Rhodes, D. Gunn-Moore, M. L. Boschiroli, I. Schiller, J. Esfandiari, R. Greenwald, K. P. Lyashchenko

THERE are currently no validated diagnostic tests available for tuberculosis (TB) in cats. This study compared the cell-based interferon-γ (IFN-γ) assay with two rapid point-of-care antibody tests to detect TB in domestic cats.

Sixty-two cats from the UK, France and Switzerland were included in the study. Forty cats were confirmed by culture to be infected with a number of Mycobacterium species (11 Mycobacterium bovis, 14 Mycobacterium microti and 15 non-TB complex), while 19 acted as negative controls and three were potentially ‘dangerous’ in-contacts. In addition, a cat undergoing TB chemotherapy for suspected M bovis infection was studied longitudinally. Blood samples were collected and tested by IFN-γ assay, a rapid lateral-flow cassette test and a rapid dual path platform assay. The antigens predominantly recognised by antibody-positive cats were further determined using multi-antigen print immunoassay (MAPIA).

All tests had a specificity of 100 per cent. In the IFN-γ assay, test sensitivity ranged from 70 to 100 per cent, depending on interpretation criteria. In both rapid tests, sensitivity was 90 per cent …

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