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Vet Microbiol. 2011 Feb 24;148(1):35-44. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2010.07.022. Epub 2010 Aug 5.

A longitudinal study to evaluate the diagnostic potential of a direct faecal quantitative PCR test for Johne's disease in sheep.

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Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, 425 Werombi Road, Camden, New South Wales 2570, Australia.


A longitudinal study was carried out to evaluate the diagnostic potential of the previously developed direct faecal real-time quantitative PCR (QPCR) assay (Kawaji et al., 2007) for the detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) infected sheep. Of the 58 sheep, 38 were orally inoculated with MAP, while 20 controls were maintained separately from the infected group throughout the trial. All animals were tested by QPCR, faecal culture and serum ELISA pre-inoculation and at 4, 8 and 13 months post-inoculation, and were necropsied at 13 months post-inoculation. Eighteen out of 38 inoculated sheep were detected by QPCR to be shedding MAP in faeces at 4 months post-inoculation, while only one sheep was positive in faecal culture at this time point. At 8 months post-inoculation, MAP DNA was detected in faeces of all inoculated sheep by QPCR, while MAP organisms were isolated from only 34% of the inoculated animals by faecal culture. The QPCR results for faecal samples that were collected at necropsy demonstrated that faecal QPCR was more sensitive than culture of intestinal tissues for MAP. The QPCR assay was confirmed to be a sensitive and specific ante-mortem diagnostic test for MAP in sheep, circumventing faecal culture which is a less sensitive and highly time consuming test. Quantification of MAP DNA in faeces by QPCR may provide immediate information to estimate the stage of the infection as well as the risk of transmission from infected animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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