EU-approved rapid tests might underestimate bovine spongiform encephalopathy infection in goats

Daniela Meloni, Elena Bozzetta, Jan P.M. Langeveld, Martin H. Groschup, Wilfred Goldmann, Olivier Andréoletti, Isabelle Lantier, Lucien van Keulen, Alex Bossers, Danilo Pitardi, Romolo Nonno, Theodoros Sklaviadis, Francesco Ingravalle, Simone Peletto, Silvia Colussi, Pier Luigi Acutis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on the diagnostic sensitivity of 3 EU-approved rapid tests (1 from IDEXX and 2 from BIO-RAD) for the detection of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) diseases in goats. Ninety-eight goat brain stem samples were tested. All of rapid tests had 100% specificity and ≥80% sensitivity with the IDEXX test significantly more sensitive than the 2 Bio-Rad tests. All tests detected 100% of samples from goats with clinical scrapie, but missed between 7% (IDEXX) and 24% (BIORAD-SG) of samples from pre-clinical goats. Importantly, only IDEXX picked up all samples from clinical BSE-infected goats, whereas the other 2 rapid tests missed between 15% (BIORAD-SG) and 25% (BIORAD-SAP). These results show that a fraction of pre-clinical scrapie infections are likely missed by the EU surveillance, with sensitivity of detection strongly depending on the choice of the rapid test. Moreover, a significant proportion of clinical BSE infections are underestimated by using either BIO-RAD test. Assuming that the same sensitivity on pre-clinical goats would also occur in BSE-infected goats, our data suggest that IDEXX is likely the most sensitive test for detecting preclinical field cases of BSE infection in goats, though with a 7% failure rate. These results raise some concerns about the reliability of current EU surveillance figures on BSE infection in goats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • BSE
  • diagnosis
  • goats
  • rapid tests
  • scrapie
  • sensitivity
  • surveillance


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