Sero-prevalence of Neospora caninum and Besnoitia besnoiti in South Australian beef and dairy cattle
A serological survey for Neospora caninum and Besnoitia besnoiti was carried out in beef and dairy cattle in South Australia. Serum samples of dairy cattle (n = 133) from 9 properties and tank milk samples from a further 122 dairy herds were tested. An additional 810 sera from beef cattle from 51 properties were also tested. Testing at the individual animal level by IDEXX NEOSPORA X2 Ab test ELISA revealed a low prevalence of N. caninum antibodies of only 2.7% (95% CI; 1.6-3.7%) sera positive, as did the milk testing that showed 2.5% (95% CI; 1.4-3.6%) of tank milks being positive. At the herd level, 29.4% (95% CI; 16.9-41.9%) of beef, and 44.4% (95% CI; 12.0-76.9%) of dairy cattle herds showed serum antibodies. The highest within-herd prevalence in beef was 20% and 25%in dairy, which explains the low herd prevalence in dairy detected by bulk milk testing. Testing for B. besnoiti antibodies by PrioCHECK® Besnoitia Ab 2.0 ELISA initially identified 18.4% (95% CI: 15.8-21.0%) of 869 individual cattle sera as positive by ELISA at the manufacturer's suggested cut-off threshold (15 PP). Additional tests by immunoblot and IFAT, however, could not confirm any of the ELISA results. The use of a higher (40 PP) threshold in the ELISA is suggested to improve specificity. There is thus no evidence of B. besnoiti infection in South Australian cattle.