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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2010 Nov;7(11):1291-6. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2010.0541. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Absorbed EVELISA: a diagnostic test with improved specificity for Johne's disease in cattle.

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  • 1Center for Wildlife Health, Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA.


The use of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) is recommended for Johne's disease (JD) control in dairy herds. In 2006, we developed a novel ELISA test for JD, named EVELISA (ELISA using ethanol extract of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis), which showed higher sensitivity than commercial ELISA tests. To further investigate the performance of EVELISA, we obtained 38 serum samples from cattle in a JD-free herd with suspected cases of serological false-positive reactions. When these samples were tested using the EVELISA and a commercial ELISA test, more than 70% of the samples were falsely identified as JD positive. Antibodies in the serum samples reacted strongly with antigens of various environmental mycobacteria, suggesting the presence of cross-reactive antibodies in the samples. The possible cross reactions in the EVELISA were inhibited markedly by the use of Mycobacterium phlei antigens for antibody absorption. When these samples were tested, 8 samples were classified as positive for JD by the EVELISA with the antibody absorption, whereas 27 samples were classified as positive for JD by the commercial ELISA. For an estimation of tentative sensitivity and specificity, the ELISA tests were performed on 38 serum samples from JD-negative herds with no suspected cases of serological false-positive reaction and 68 samples from cattle diagnosed as positive for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection by fecal culture test. Sensitivity and specificity of the EVELISA with preabsorption of serum with M. phlei ("ethanol vortex absorbed-ELISA" or EVA-ELISA) were estimated to be 97.1% and 100%, respectively, whereas those of the commercial ELISA were 48.5% and 97.4%, respectively. Further, in 85 fecal culture-negative cattle in JD-positive herds, higher sensitivity of the EVA-ELISA than the commercial ELISA was demonstrated by a Bayesian analysis. This study indicates that the EVA-ELISA may form a basis for a sensitive diagnostic test with a higher level of specificity than that of the current commercial ELISA test.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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