Sensitivity and specificity of antigen-capture ELISAs for diagnosis of Trypanosoma congolense and Trypansoma vivax infections in cattle
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Veterinary Parasitology;79(3): 187-201
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/33243
Sensitivity and specificity of the FAO/IAEA kits for diagnosis of bovine trypanosomosis were investigated using sera from experimental cattle infected by tsetse challenge with cloned populations of Trypanosoma congolense (three populations) or T. vivax (one population). The kits are based on monoclonal antibodies that recognise internal antigens of tsetse-transmitted trypanosomes. Ten cattle were infected with each trypanosome population for at least 60 days, and in combination with unifected cohorts (n=16) were used in a double-blind study design. Sensitivity and specificity of the tests depended on the choice of positive-negative thresholds expressed as percent positivity with respect to the median OD of four replicates of the strong positive reference serum provided with the kit. In general, while overall specificities were high, sensitivities of the antigen-ELISAs were poor. For example, at a cut-off of 5% positivity, the sensitivities of the antigen-ELISAs were 11% for samples (n=1162) from T. congolense infected cattle (n=30), and 24 % for samples (n=283) from T. vivax infected cattle (n=10). The corresponding specificity values were 95% and 79%, respectively. At a cut-off of 2.5% positivity, sensitivity for T. congolense was 25%, and for T.vivax 35%; corresponding specificity values were 85% and 63% respectively. There were no values of the positive-negative threshold at which both sensitivity and specificity were satisfactory. Restricting the analyses to samples taken more than 2 weeks after tsetse challenge did little to improve sensitivity estimates. Trypanosome species specificities of the antigen-ELISAs were also poor. Sensitivity and species specificity of the antigen-ELISA for Typanosoma brucei infections were not investigated. In contrast to the antigen-ELISA, the sensitivity of the buffy-coat technique when applied to the same experimental animals was fairly high at 67% for T. congolense infections and 60 for T. vivax infections. For samples taken more than 2 weeks after tsetse challenge, high sensitivity estimates of 96% for T. congolense and 76% for T. vivax infections were obtained.