Comparison of milk and serum enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for diagnosis of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection in dairy cattle

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2006 Sep;18(5):448-58. doi: 10.1177/104063870601800504.


Milk and serum samples from 35 dairy herds in 17 states were evaluated for cow- and herd-level Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) antibody test agreement. Evaluation of 6,349 samples suggested moderate agreement between milk and serum enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) results, with a kappa value of 0.50. Cow-level sensitivity (Se) for 18 dairy operations with 1,921 animals was evaluated relative to fecal culture results. At the cow level, the milk ELISA relative Se was not significantly different from that of the serum ELISA (21.2 and 23.5%, respectively). Logistic regression models revealed a positive association between lactation number and milk ELISA status. Non-Holstein cows were more likely to test milk ELISA positive than Holstein cows. Cows in the first 2 weeks of lactation and after week 45 of lactation were more likely to test milk ELISA positive than cows between 3 and 12 weeks of lactation. Milk production > 80% of herd average was negatively associated with testing milk ELISA positive. Animals in the West and Midwest regions were less likely than animals in the Southeast region to test ELISA positive by either test. Estimates for herd-level sensitivity for the milk and serum ELISA, relative to fecal culture results, ranged from 56 to 83%. At the cow and herd levels, milk ELISA performed equivalent to serum ELISA using fecal culture as a reference for MAP infection and has the advantage of decreased labor costs on farms that use Dairy Herd Improvement Association testing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / blood
  • Cattle Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Logistic Models
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Paratuberculosis / blood
  • Paratuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Paratuberculosis / microbiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • United States


  • Antibodies, Bacterial