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Title: A collaborative Canadian-United Kingdom evaluation of an immunohistochemistry protocol to diagnose bovine spongiform encephalopathy

item O'Rourke, Katherine
item Knowles Jr, Donald

Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2007
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: Manning, L., Orourke, K.I., Knowles Jr, D.P., Marsh, S., Spencer, Y.I., Moffat, E., Wells, G.A., Czub, S. 2008. A collaborative Canadian-United Kingdom evaluation of an immunohistochemistry protocol to diagnose bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 20(4):113-117.

Interpretive Summary: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is the prion disorder of cattle. Worldwide surveillance for the disease was instituted after the identification of the zoonotic potential of the disease. Diagnostic testing of cattle with clinical signs suggestive of neurologic disease and of randomly selected clinically normal cattle is performed in countries within and outside the reported endemic region. This study describes a commercially available diagnostic test kit suitable for use in countries using manual immunohistochemistry assay for disease monitoring. The study included submission of samples from the United Kingdom and Canada. Serial slides of tissue from formalin fixed brain tissue were assayed using the same generic protocol. The test kit was considered to be easy to use and yielded diagnostic results that were identical in the two laboratories. The availability of a one-stop standardized, monoclonal antibody based kit containing most of the reagents needed for the test should be useful in countries needing to perform testing on small numbers of cattle.

Technical Abstract: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of domestic cattle. The disorder was reported in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s and was associated with recycling of ruminant byproducts in cattle feed. In 1996, the bovine disease was reported to be the cause of a fatal neurodegenerative disorder in humans. Although bans on recycling ruminant tissues in the food chain have resulted in near eradication of the disease, diagnostic surveillance continues to be conducted in most areas of the world. Countries with no reported cases or no documented exposure to contaminated material rely on manual test systems in low throughput laboratories. USDA collaborated with private industry to produce a commercial test for use in these countries. In this study, the test was evaluated in a sample of 600 bovine samples tested in laboratories in the United Kingdom and Canada. The test kit sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility were 100%. This test kit is convenient, contains most of the needed reagents, and will be useful in countries using manual immunohistochemistry for bovine spongiform encephalopathy surveillance.