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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: COUNTERMEASURES TO PREVENT AND CONTROL TUBERCULOSIS IN CATTLE AND WILDLIFE RESERVOIRS Title: Use of the Intradermal Tuberculin Test in a Herd of Captive Elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) Naturally Infected with Mycobacterium bovis

Authors
item Palmer, Mitchell
item Whipple, Diana
item Payeur, Janet -
item Bolin, Carole -

Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 7, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Citation: Palmer, M.V., Whipple, D.L., Payeur, J.B., Bolin, C.A. 2011. Use of the intradermal tuberculin test in a herd of captive elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) naturally infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 23(2):363-366.

Interpretive Summary: Tuberculosis of captive deer species, caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis, attracted attention in 1991 in the United States when investigations, prompted by the identification of a TB infected elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) in Canada, revealed infected captive elk herds in 8 different states. Based on methods used in cattle, official regulations pertaining to testing and control of tuberculosis in captive deer species were added to the USDA bovine tuberculosis control effort in 1994. However, little published information exists on the accuracy of intradermal tuberculin testing in deer species. Evaluation of a captive herd of 71 elk in Wisconsin included postmortem examination and tissue sample collection from both TB skin test responders and non-responders. Results showed TB skin testing identifies 88% of truly infected elk and 69% of truly negative elk. Evaluation of diagnostic tests in the species of interest is important, as use of results obtained from other species may not be appropriate.

Technical Abstract: Tuberculosis of captive Cervidae, caused by Mycobacterium bovis, attracted attention in 1991 in the United States when investigations, prompted by the identification of a tuberculous elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) in Canada, revealed infected captive elk herds in 8 different states. Based on methods used in cattle, official regulations pertaining to testing and eradication of tuberculosis in captive Cervidae were added to the USDA bovine tuberculosis eradication effort in 1994. However, little published information exists on the accuracy of intradermal tuberculin testing in Cervidae. Evaluation of a captive herd of 71 animals in Wisconsin included postmortem examination and tissue sample collection from both tuberculin test responders and non-responders. Results showed the single cervical test (SCT) to have a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 69% in this captive population. Evaluation of diagnostic tests in the species of interest is important, as extrapolation of data obtained from other species may not be appropriate.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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