Improved serodetection of Mycobacterium bovis infection in badgers (Meles meles) using multiantigen test formats

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2003 Jul;46(3):197-203. doi: 10.1016/s0732-8893(03)00046-4.


Despite attempts to control bovine tuberculosis, the incidence of disease in Great Britain continues to rise. In GB, the European badger (Meles meles) is a reservoir of infection with Mycobacterium bovis. In an effort to improve the serodetection of badger tuberculosis, we examined sera from M. bovis culture-positive and culture-negative badgers for their ability to recognize M. bovis antigens, using a multi-antigen print immunoassay (MAPIA). Depending on the antigens used in the MAPIA, the assay had a sensitivity of 49-59% and a specificity of 84-88% Results from the MAPIA were used to select antigens for the development of a lateral-flow immunoassay. This so-called 'Rapid Test' used 5microl of serum and gave unambiguous results within 10 min. When applied to 178 badger sera, the Rapid Test had a sensitivity of 53% and a specificity of 95%. This represented an improvement over the performance of the existing ELISA Test, which had a sensitivity of 47% and a specificity of 89% on the same sera. This is the first report of a diagnostic test for badger tuberculosis that can be performed alongside the captive animal.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / blood*
  • Carnivora / microbiology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Immunoassay / veterinary*
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium bovis / isolation & purification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / veterinary*


  • Antigens, Bacterial