Assessment of the specificity of a gamma-interferon test performed with specific antigens to detect bovine tuberculosis, after non-negative results to intradermal tuberculin testing

17 Mar 2019

Praud, A., Bourely, C., Boschiroli, M.-L., Dufour, B.

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In cattle herds in France, cervical skin tests (STs) using simple intradermal tuberculin (SIT) are performed to detect bovine tuberculosis (bTB). When positive results are found on ST screening, the herd is considered to be ‘under suspicion’ and confined, raising economic issues. The suspicion can be lifted by carrying out a single intradermal cervical comparative test (SICCT) at least six weeks later.The authors conducted an experimental study in France between 2013 and 2015 to assess the accuracy of the gamma-interferon test (IFN-), used in series after a non-negative result to ST screening, and to study the possibility of replacing the SICCT performed six weeks later by an IFN performed within a few days. Data were collected concerning 40 infected and 1825 bTB-free animals from herds with non-negative results to ST screening. This study showed that the IFN- test based on specific antigens and performed within a few days of a non-negative result to the ST has higher sensitivity than the SICCT performed six weeks later and equal specificity. The IFN test is more convenient to perform; however, it is more expensive. The IFN- test based on MIX antigens may be a useful alternative to the SICCT, to shorten the confinement period of suspect herds without underdetecting bTB.