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Vet Microbiol. 2006 Feb 25;112(2-4):181-90. Epub 2005 Dec 2.

Advances in bovine tuberculosis diagnosis and pathogenesis: what policy makers need to know.

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Bacterial Diseases of Livestock Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, 2300 Dayton Avenue, Ames, IA 50010, USA.


The mainstay of tuberculosis diagnosis in cattle and deer has been the tuberculin skin test. Recent advances have allowed the incorporation of blood based assays to the diagnostic arsenal for both cattle and deer. Use of defined and specific antigens has allowed for improved specificity of cell mediated assays in both cattle and deer and advances in antibody tests for tuberculosis have potential for use in free-ranging and captive cervid populations. Combined use of blood-based assays with skin testing will require further understanding of the effect of skin testing on the accuracy of blood based assays. Models of experimental infection of cattle have allowed for increased understanding of natural disease pathogenesis. Differences likely exist; however, between cattle and deer in both disease distribution and primary route of inoculation in naturally infected animals.

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