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Vet Parasitol. 2011 Jun 30;179(1-3):152-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.01.054. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

An ELISA for sensitive and specific detection of circulating antigen of Angiostrongylus vasorum in serum samples of naturally and experimentally infected dogs.

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Institute of Parasitology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 266a, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Canine angiostrongylosis is an emerging cardiopulmonary disease in Europe which can be fatal if left untreated. We developed a sandwich-ELISA based on a monoclonal antibody (mAb Av 56/1/2) and on polyclonal rabbit antibodies directed against Angiostrongylus vasorum adult excretory/secretory - antigen for the detection of circulating serum antigen of A. vasorum. The sensitivity of the test was 95.7% (78.1-99.9, 95% CI) as determined with sera of 23 dogs naturally infected with A. vasorum. The specificity was 94.0% (83.5-98.7, 95% CI) using 50 dog sera (control group) submitted for reasons other than parasitic infections. Potential cross-reactions were investigated with sera of a group of totally 61 dogs with proven infections with Dirofilaria immitis (n=23), Crenosoma vulpis (n=14), Ancylostoma caninum (n=4) or Toxocara canis (n=20). No significant difference was observed concerning the proportion of positive reactions between the control group and the group with proven helminth infections other than A. vasorum. In experimentally inoculated dogs with proven worm burdens of A. vasorum, the proportion of seropositive dogs increased over the first 3 months of infection, starting from 35 days post inoculation (dpi) which was before the onset of larval excretion. Ten weeks post inoculation, 98.6% of the dogs were seropositive, and circulating antigen persisted in two dogs with long-term follow-up over 286 and 356 days, respectively. In contrast, in dogs with a single treatment with imidacloprid/moxidectin at four or 32 dpi, no circulating antigen was observed, while in dogs treated at 88-92 dpi, OD values decreased within 13-34 days. The specific detection of circulating A. vasorum antigen by ELISA represents a valid alternative for reliable diagnosis and for follow-up investigations after anthelmintic treatment. Moreover, the test can be used for mass screening in large epidemiological investigations.

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