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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2006

Evaluation of an iscom EIASA used for detection of antibodies to Neospora caninum in bulk milk

Frossling J, Lindberg A, Bjorkman C


The intracellular parasite Neospora caninum is increasingly recognized as an important cause of abortion and stillbirth in cattle. Presence of specific antibodies indicates infection, and the immunostimulating complex (iscom) enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) has previously been evaluated for use on individual mill, and sera. In the present study, this test is investigated for use on bulk milk. In this study, 124 herds were used to analyse the relationship between within-herd prevalences based on individual sera and bulk milk optical densities. The individual test results were translated into a herd-level result, which enabled comparison of the bulk milk test result to the aggregate of individual serum results. The relative contribution of milk from cows with different milk yield and antibody status to the tank, i.e. its composition, was expected to influence the outcome of the bulk milk test. Therefore, sensitivity and specificity were calculated at different cut-off levels, not only using a standard cross.-tabulation technique, but also a logistic regression model. By using the latter method, the sensitivity and specificity could be estimated adjusting for milk yield covariates. Specificity was estimated to be high (similar to 98%) at the 0.20 cut-off, which can be used as a decision threshold to rule in infection. With more equal emphasis on sensitivity and specificity, a lower cut-off should be used. Although infection cannot be completely ruled out, herds with test results below 0.05 are highly likely to be non-infected. The within-herd prevalence of false negative herds is probably less than 10-15% at this level. From what is known about test performance at the individual level and the prevalence of infection, the estimate of the specificity of the bulk milk test should be quite accurate while the sensitivity is likely to be underestimated. We confirmed that the performance of the bulk milk test depends on the milk tank composition. In particular the milk yield of cows with high antibody levels affects the probability of a positive outcome of the bulk milk test. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Published in

Preventive Veterinary Medicine
2006, volume: 74, number: 2-3, pages: 120-129

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Lindberg, Ann
Frössling, Jenny

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science
Veterinary Science

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