Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 5, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The captive deer industry has grown remarkably in the United States over the last twenty years. Thousands of farmed deer of numerous species are no raised commercially in the United States. Tuberculosis in captive deer became an important disease in the United States in 1990 and 1991. The tuberculin skin test used to diagnose tuberculosis in deer is a modification of the test used in cattle. Little work has been done to validate this test in individual species of deer. We conducted 169 skin tests on white-tailed deer of known tuberculosis status. The skin test correctly identified 97% of the tuberculous deer and 81% of the non- infected deer. The tuberculin skin test is a reliable and accurate means of diagnosis of tuberculosis in white-tailed deer. This information will be useful to USDA regulatory officials, state veterinarians, and producers of farmed deer.
Technical Abstract: The comparative cervical skin test for the antemortem diagnosis of tuberculosis was done 169 times on 116 different white-tailed deer of known M. bovis infection status. The sensitivity and specificity were 97% and 81% respectively. The magnitude of the change in skin thickness at the test sites was not significantly influenced by dosage of inoculum, duration of infection, dissemination of the disease process, or repeated skin testing when done at a minimum of 90 day intervals. The comparative cervical skin test is an accurate method for antemortem diagnosis of M. bovis infection in white-tailed deer.