Performance Characteristics of ELISA to Detect Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) Antibodies Using Colostrum

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Colostrum contains substantially higher concentrations of immunoglobulins (Igs) when compared with serum or milk, which may improve the diagnostic sensitivity of an antibody ELISA when using colostrum. In this study, BVD was used as a model to identify the performance characteristics of colostrum and to assess the potential for increased ELISA sensitivity when compared with serum. Blood and colostrum samples were collected from cows within two dairy cattle herds: a previously infected and BVD-vaccinated Holstein-Friesian (positive herd) herd, and a bulk-tank milk antibody negative (negative herd) Jersey herd. All samples were tested using a commercial BVDV antibody ELISA. Median sample-to-positive (S/P) colostrum ratios were significantly higher than their respective serum counterparts, and positive herd S/P ratios were significantly higher than the respective negative herd values (P < 0.001). Using the manufacturer’s recommended serum dilution (1:5) and colostrum dilution (undiluted), and a cut-off threshold S/P ratio of 0.2, diagnostic sensitivity (DSe) and diagnostic specificity (DSp) for colostrum were 100% and 70%, respectively. These values increased to 100% DSe and 100% DSp with an increase in cut-off threshold S/P to 0.5. At a sample dilution of 1:100, the DSe of colostrum was 90% and significantly higher compared with serum (DSe 17%). Colostrum has the potential to improve identification of previously infected animals, either individually, or when using pooled samples.

Cite this paper

Jenvey, C. , Weir, A. , Reichel, M. and Cockcroft, P. (2015) Performance Characteristics of ELISA to Detect Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) Antibodies Using Colostrum. Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 5, 35-41. doi: 10.4236/ojvm.2015.52006.

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