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Prev Vet Med. 1997 Aug;31(3-4):223-30.

Evaluation of a bulk-milk ELISA test for the classification of herd-level bovine leukemia virus status.

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Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


The results of a commercial bulk-milk enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test for herd-level bovine leukemia virus (BLV) status were compared to results obtained from individual agar-gel immunodiffussion (AGID) testing on sampled cattle. A positive herd was defined as a herd having one or more AGID-positive animals. The estimated true herd status was based on the sensitivity and specificity of the AGID test and the number of cattle sampled per herd. Ninety-seven herds were used, with a mean of 13 cows sampled per herd. The AGID test indicated an apparent herd prevalence of 70.1%. After accounting for the number of cows sampled and the sensitivity and specificity of the AGID test, the estimated true herd prevalence of BLV was 52.3%. The ELISA test identified 79.4% of herds as positive for BLV, and had an apparent sensitivity and specificity of 0.97 and 0.62, respectively. However, after accounting for the sensitivity and specificity of the AGID test in individual animals, the specificity of the ELISA test was 0.44. The ELISA test was useful for identifying BLV-negative herds (i.e., ruling out the presence of BLV infection in test negative herds). With the moderately low specificity, herds identified as positive by the ELISA test would require further testing at the individual or herd level to definitively establish their BLV status.

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