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Association between results of diagnostic tests for bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease in cattle
  1. Catalina Picasso-Risso1,2,
  2. Ana Grau3,
  3. Douwe Bakker4,
  4. Jesus Nacar3,
  5. Olga Mínguez5,
  6. Andres Perez6 and
  7. Julio Alvarez7,8
  1. 1 Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay
  3. 3 Servicio de Sanidad Animal, Junta de Castilla y Leon, Valladolid, Castilla y León, Spain
  4. 4 Independent Expert, Lelystad, The Netherlands
  5. 5 Sanidad Animal, Junta de Castilla y Leon, Valladolid, Castilla y León, Spain
  6. 6 Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  7. 7 VISAVET Health Surveillance Centre, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
  8. 8 Universidad Complutense de Madrid Facultad de Veterinaria, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catalina Picasso-Risso; picas001{at}


Background Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) diagnosis is impaired by numerous factors including cross-reactivity with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, which causes Johne’s disease (JD). In addition, the effect of repeated bTB-intradermal testing on the performance of JD diagnostic tests is not fully understood. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of repeated bTB-intradermal tests under field conditions in Spain on the JD serological status of cattle.

Methods bTB-positive herds (n=264) from Castilla-y-Leon region were selected and matched with officially tuberculosis-free control herds. The association between JD and bTB status at the herd level was assessed using conditional logistic regression and, in herds with both JD-positive and bTB-positive animals, a Bayesian hierarchical mixed-effect model was used for individual-level analysis.

Results A significantly higher risk of being JD positive (OR: 1.48; 95 per cent CI: 1.01 to 2.15) was found for bTB-positive herds compared with controls. Individual results indicated that cattle tested more than three times per year, within the last 90 days and more than 12 months were more likely to be JD positive. A skin test-related boost in antibody response could be the cause of an apparent increase of the sensitivity of the JD-absorbed ELISA.

Conclusion The results demonstrate the interaction between bTB repeated testing and JD individual and herd-level results and this improved knowledge will facilitate the design of more effective control programmes in herds coinfected with two of the most important endemic diseases affecting cattle in Spain.

  • Bayesian regression
  • Bovine Tuberculosis
  • Johne’s disease
  • diagnostic interaction
  • Spain
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  • Contributors JA, OM and AP designed the study. AG, JN and OM coordinated sample collection, laboratory analysis and assembled the databases. CP-R and JA run all the statistical analyses and drafted the manuscript. DB, AG, JN, OM and AP helped in interpretation of the results. All authors critically revised the manuscript.

  • Funding This research was partially supported by Uruguayan Agency of Research and Innovation (ANII in Spanish language), Global Food Venture MnDrive initiatives and is a contribution to the project RTI2018-096010-B-C22 (Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades). JA is the recipient of a Ramón y Cajal postdoctoral contract from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO) (RYC-2016-20422).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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