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Open Access Use of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent asay to diagnose avian tuberculosis in a captive collection of wildfowl

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The current study assessed the diagnostic accuracy of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and evaluated it as a diagnostic screening aid for avian tuberculosis (TB) in a wildfowl collection at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Llanelli, Wales, U.K.. Four hundred and eighteen birds of the collection, including geese, ducks, and swans, were screened for mycobacterial antibody levels. Of those birds tested, 40 died during the period of this study and gross post mortem examinations were performed. The ELISA showed a sensitivity of 76.9% and a specificity of 55.6% using post-mortem findings as the ‘gold standard'. Thirteen of the examined birds showed evidence of avian TB at necropsy. In addition, liver and spleen biopsies of 19 birds were examined histopathologically. There was minimal agreement between gross post mortem and histopathological findings. PCR performed on 13 of the specimens prepared for histopathology did not identify the presence of mycobacterial DNA. The findings reveal a need for further research to improve the sensitivity and specificity of this ELISA and the accurate diagnosis of avian TB.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Great Western Referrals, Unit 10 Berkshire House, County Park Estate, Shrivenham Road, Swindon, SN1 2NR, Germany 2: Clinic for Poultry, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany 3: Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucester, GL2 7BT, United Kingdom

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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