A total of 315 cattle were tested for infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (M. paratuberculosis) at three consecutive samplings, using the interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) test on whole blood and bacteriological culture of faecal samples. Of 205 cattle from 10 infected herds 99 (48%) were positive in the IFN-gamma test on at least one sampling using "IDEXX-criteria" for interpretation, and of I 10 cattle from five non-infected herds three (3%) were positive. Forty-four animals from infected and one from non-infected herds tested positive at all three samplings. Although support for the specificity of the IFN-gamma test was provided by these results, they also indicate. problems with false positives. Approximately half of the positive animals did not give the same result at all three samplings, indicating that repeated testing increases the chance of detecting reactors. Changing, or fluctuating, IFN-gamma test results occurred most frequently in animals younger than 1 year, indicating that the IFN-gamma test should be applied only to animals I year and older. M. paratuberculosis was isolated from 16 (4%) of 371 cattle, all from infected herds. Fifteen culture-positive cattle tested positive at least once in the IFN-gamma test. It was not possible to predict from the IFN-gamma test result the number of animals that would eventually develop disease. However, the test may be useful to detect animals that have been exposed to M. paratuberculosis earlier in their lives, and the testing of young cattle could be included in a control program to check for the effectiveness of preventing transmission of infection to calves and to identify animals at risk of developing disease later in their lives.
|Journal||Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|
- Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)