Rapid detection of serum antibody by dual-path platform VetTB assay in white-tailed deer infected with Mycobacterium bovis

Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2013 Jun;20(6):907-11. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00120-13. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


Bovine tuberculosis (TB) in cervids remains a significant problem affecting farmed herds and wild populations. Traditional skin testing has serious limitations in certain species, whereas emerging serological assays showed promising diagnostic performance. The recently developed immunochromatographic dual-path platform (DPP) VetTB assay has two antigen bands, T1 (MPB83 protein) and T2 (CFP10/ESAT-6 fusion protein), for antibody detection. We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of this test by using serum samples collected from groups of white-tailed deer experimentally inoculated with Mycobacterium bovis, M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, or M. bovis BCG Pasteur. In addition, we used serum samples from farmed white-tailed deer in herds with no history of TB, as well as from free-ranging white-tailed deer culled during field surveillance studies performed in Michigan known to have bovine TB in the wild deer population. The DPP VetTB assay detected antibody responses in 58.1% of experimentally infected animals within 8 to 16 weeks postinoculation and in 71.9% of naturally infected deer, resulting in an estimated test sensitivity of 65.1% and a specificity of 97.8%. The higher seroreactivity found in deer with naturally acquired M. bovis infection was associated with an increased frequency of antibody responses to the ESAT-6 and CFP10 proteins, resulting in a greater contribution of these antigens, in addition to MPB83, to the detection of seropositive animals, compared with experimental M. bovis infection. Deer experimentally inoculated with either M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis or M. bovis BCG Pasteur did not produce cross-reactive antibodies that could be detected by the DPP VetTB assay. The present findings demonstrate the relatively high diagnostic accuracy of the DPP VetTB test for white-tailed deer, especially in the detection of naturally infected animals.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Chromatography, Affinity / methods*
  • Deer
  • Michigan
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / veterinary*
  • Veterinary Medicine / methods*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial