The Use of a Gamma-Interferon Assay to Confirm a Diagnosis of Bovine Tuberculosis in Brazil

Acta Trop. 2010 Feb;113(2):199-201. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2009.10.002. Epub 2009 Oct 9.


Control of bovine tuberculosis (TB) is currently based on slaughter of cattle deemed positive on the basis of tuberculin testing; although the test has been broadly used for several years, there are some disadvantages such as the need for holding animals for 72 h. Besides it, test can lack both sensitivity and specificity depending on the interpretation and the site of the PPD inoculation. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to evaluate the use of the Gamma-Interferon (IFN) assay as a confirmatory test in Brazil. A Comparative Intradermal Tuberculin Test (CITT) was performed in 50 cows from a dairy herd known to be infected with TB. Blood samples for IFN testing were collected concurrent with the CITT, as well as seven and 21 days later. At 30 days after the CITT, all cattle deemed reactive to this test were slaughtered and samples were processed by both bacteriological culture and PCR. The sensitivity of IFN as a diagnostic tool was 91.4%, whereas specificity was 86.7%. When applied seven or 21 days after injection of PPD, sensitivity was 74.3 and 71.4%, respectively, whereas specificity was 86.7 and 80%. There was no significant difference between the reliability of the IFN assay and the other standards, on all three days of sampling. Therefore, we concluded that the IFN assay could be effectively used as a confirmatory test seven or 21 days after injection of PPD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brazil
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cattle Diseases / immunology
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology
  • Culture Media
  • Dairying
  • Interferon-gamma / blood*
  • Intradermal Tests
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium bovis / isolation & purification
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculin Test
  • Tuberculosis, Bovine / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Bovine / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Bovine / microbiology


  • Culture Media
  • Interferon-gamma