Serodiagnosis of bovine cysticercosis by detecting live Taenia saginata cysts using a monoclonal antibody-based antigen-ELISA
Onyango-Abuje, J. A
Kang'ethe, E. K
Harrison, L. J
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An ante mortem antigen-ELISA-based diagnosis of Taenia saginata cysticercosis was studied in artificially (n = 24) and naturally (n = 25) infected cattle with the objective of further validating the assay as a field diagnostic test. Based on total dissection as the definitive method of validity, the assay minimally detected 14 live cysticerci in artificially infected calves and 2 in naturally infected steers. In natural infections, the minimum number of live cysticerci consistently detected by Ag-ELISA was 5 while in artificial infections it was above 14. However, other animals with 12 and 17 live cysticerci in artificially infected calves, and 1 and 2 live cysticerci in naturally infected steers, escaped detection for unknown reasons. Animals harbouring dead cysticerci gave negative reactions in the assay as was the case in non-infected experimental control calves. There was a statistically significant positive linear correlation between Ag-ELISA optical density values and burdens of live cysticerci as obtained by total dissection of both artificially infected calves (r = 0.798, n = 24; P < 0.05) and naturally infected steers (r = 0.631, n = 25; P < 0.05). These results clearly show the potential effectiveness of ante mortem monoclonal antibody-based antigen detection ELISA in the diagnosis of bovine cysticercosis in cattle. Its value lies in the diagnosis of infection in cattle as a screening test in a herd, rather than as a diagnostic test at the individual level, due to false positive and negative reactions. In a herd of heavily infected cattle, the assay may, however, provide for individual diagnosis. Nevertheless, more work is recommended to increase its sensitivity so as to be able to diagnose light infections consistently in the field.