A field evaluation of serological and cellular diagnostic tests for bovine tuberculosis

Vet Microbiol. 1992 Apr;31(1):71-9. doi: 10.1016/0378-1135(92)90142-g.


This paper describes the field evaluation of a serological test and a new in vitro assay for cell-mediated reactivity for the diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis. The use of a Mycobacterium bovis-specific antigen (MPB-70) in an ELISA to test the serological response to tuberculosis infection resulted in a specificity of 96.4% and a sensitivity of 18.1%. The most favourable results were obtained with the interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) assay which had a sensitivity of 81.8% and a specificity of 99.1%. Respective figures for the single intradermal tuberculin test were 68.1% and 96.7%. The use of MPB-70 as the antigen in the IFN-gamma assay reduced the sensitivity of this assay, without producing any useful increase in specificity. The IFN-gamma assay was also demonstrated to be a practical diagnostic test for use with large groups of cattle.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Cattle
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculin Test / veterinary
  • Tuberculosis, Bovine / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Bovine / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Interferon-gamma