The endemic presence of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in African buffaloes in South Africa has severe consequences for BTB control in domestic cattle, buffalo ranching and wildlife conservation, and poses a potential risk to public health. This study determined the BTB prevalence in free-ranging buffaloes in two game reserves and assessed the influence of the prevalence of mycobacterial infections on the performance of a commercial cattle-specific serological assay for BTB (TB ELISA). Buffaloes (n = 997) were tested with the tuberculin skin test and TB ELISA; a subset (n = 119) was tested longitudinally. Culture, PCR and sequencing were used to confirm infection with M. bovis and/or non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). Prevalence of BTB, but not NTM, influenced the TB ELISA performance. Multiple testing did not increase test confidence. The findings strongly illustrate the need for development of novel assays that can supplement existing assays for a more comprehensive testing scheme for BTB in African buffaloes.
|Journal||Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases|
|Early online date||16 Oct 2019|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 16 Oct 2019|