p38-avidity-ELISA: examination of herds experiencing epidemic or endemic Neospora caninum-associated bovine abortion

Schares, Gereon GND; Bärwald, Andrea GND; Staubach, Christoph GND; Söndgen, P.; Rauser, M.; Schröder, Ronald GND; Peters, M.; Wurm, R.; Selhorst, Thomas GND; Conraths, Franz Josef GND

An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was established to measure the avidity of bovine IgG directed against p38, a surface antigen (NCSRS2) of Neospora caninum tachyzoites. In the sera of dams intravenously infected with N. caninum NC-1, the p38-specific avidity increased from initially below 40% up to avidity indices between 50 and 80% after days 23 and 91 p.i. The p38-avidity-ELISA was used to examine various herds that had experienced endemic and epidemic N. caninum-associated bovine abortions. In herds with endemic abortion, generally high avidity indices of N. caninum-specific IgG were detected. This finding and the observation of an association between the seropositivity of dams and that of their offspring suggested a predominantly vertical transmission of the parasite among the animals of these herds, thus indicating chronic infection of these cattle. In contrast, for herds experiencing epidemic abortion: (i) an association regarding seropositivity of dams and their daughters could not be shown and (ii) a generally low avidity of p38-specific IgG in the sera from aborting dams was determined. This indicates recent postnatal transmission of N. caninum in these herds. A linear regression model explaining the avidity of p38-specific IgG was significantly influenced by the time span between sampling and the occurrence of the first abortion of the epidemic in herds with an N. caninum-associated abortion storm. Another factor significantly contributing to the model was the proportion of dams at risk that had aborted in the herds (i.e. the severity of the abortion epidemic). A possible explanation for this observation is that herds experiencing heavy abortion are sampled earlier after the onset of the epidemic than others that have a less severe abortion storm.

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Schares, Gereon / Bärwald, Andrea / Staubach, Christoph / et al: p38-avidity-ELISA: examination of herds experiencing epidemic or endemic Neospora caninum-associated bovine abortion. 2002.

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