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Assessment of serological tests for diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis
  1. L. McCallan, BSc, PhD1,
  2. C. Brooks, Bsc1,
  3. C. Couzens, Bsc1,
  4. F. Young, BSc, MSc, PhD1,
  5. J. McNair, BSc, PhD1 and
  6. A. W. Byrne, BA, PhD1
  1. 1 Veterinary Science Division, Agri-food and Biosciences Institute, Stormont, Belfast BT43SD, UK
  2. 2 School of Biological Sciences, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  1. Email for correspondence: andrew.byrne{at}

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Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by infection of Mycobacterium bovis, remains a significant problem to cattle industries in the UK and Ireland (Abernethy and others 2013). Despite long-term efforts to eradicate the disease through test and slaughter regimes (Robinson 2015), the pathogen has persisted, and this persistence may be due to a number of factors including the moderate sensitivity of the screening test (single intradermal cervical comparative tuberculin (SICCT) test; De La Rua-Domenech and others 2006, Lahuerta-Marin and others 2017) and the presence of a wildlife reservoir (badgers, Meles meles; Griffin and others 2005, Byrne and others 2014). When bTB is disclosed within a herd, it is important to identify all infected animals (Lahuerta-Marin and others 2016), to ensure there is no residual infection remaining in the herd and to avoid future recrudescence (Lahuerta-Marin and others 2015, Doyle and others 2016). Therefore, the use of ancillary tests during bTB breakdowns would be useful when attempting to clear infection (Lahuerta-Marin and others 2015). The parallel use of SICCT testing with the Interferon-γ (IFNγ) release assay (Bovigam; Rothel and others 1990) in high-risk situations in Northern Ireland has been shown to disclose least numbers of false-negative results (Lahuerta-Marin and others 2016), though not all infected animals are disclosed. Therefore, in certain circumstances, it would be valuable to have additional tools when managing herd risk. In this study, the authors assess serological tests purchased from the Enfer Group …

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  • A. W. Byrne is also at School of Biological Sciences, Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK

  • Provenance: not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

  • Funding This work was funded as part of the Evidence & Innovation grant from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA E&I Project15/03/09).

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