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Association between results of diagnostic tests for bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease in cattle

Abstract

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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