Simultaneous detection of five notifiable viral diseases of cattle by single tube multiplex real-time RT-PCR
Multiplexed real-time PCR (qPCR) assays enable the detection of several target genes in a single reaction, which is applicable for simultaneous testing for the most important viral diseases in samples obtained from ruminants with unspecific clinical symptoms. Here, reverse transcription qPCR (RT-qPCR) systems for the detection of bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) and bluetongue virus (BTV) were combined with an internal control system based on the beta-actin gene. Additionally, a background screening for three further major pathogens of cloven-hoofed animals reportable to the World Organisation for Animal Health, namely foot-and-mouth disease virus, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, and Rift Valley fever virus, was integrated using the identical fluorophore for the respective RT-qPCR assays. Every pathogen-specific assay had an analytical sensitivity of at least 100 genome copies per reaction within the multiplex approach, and a series of reference samples and clinical specimens obtained from cattle, but also from small ruminants, were detected reliably. The qPCR systems integrated in the background screening were even not influenced by the simultaneous amplification of very high BVDV and BTV genome copy numbers. The newly developed multiplex qPCR allows the specific and sensitive detection of five of the most important diseases of ruminants and could be used in the context of monitoring programs or for differential diagnostics.