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Open Access Detection of Early Secretory Antigenic Target-6 Antibody for Diagnosis of Tuberculosis in Non-human Primates

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Tuberculosis is one of the most economically devastating, zoonotic infections of captive non-human primates. The limitations of the tuberculin skin test, which is currently used to diagnose tuberculosis in living non-human primates, make it necessary to find new, simple, and economical diagnostic methods. We describe use of an enzyme-linked immunoassay to detect IgG antibodies against early secretory antigenic target (ESAT)-6, a small protein secreted by virulent tubercle bacilli, in paired (pre- and post-outbreak) sera from 57 non-human primates involved in an outbreak of Mycobacterium bovis infection in a research colony. Of 25 animals with tuberculosis lesions at necropsy, 22 (88%) had high serum levels of the ESAT-6 antibody. The ESAT-6 antibody was found in 16% (5/32) of post-outbreak sera from animals in which tuberculosis could not be confirmed at necropsy. The strong association between the ESAT-6 antibody and tuberculosis in non-human primates documented in this study, together with the robustness of the serologic assay, make the ESAT-6 ELISA a valuable tool for diagnosis of tuberculosis in captive non-human primates.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Public Health Research Institute, 225 Warren Street, Newark, New Jersey 07103 2: Stanford University, Dept. of Comparative Medicine, Stanford, California 3: BioReliance Corp., 14920 Broschart Road, Rockville, Maryland 20850

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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