Meta-analyses of the sensitivity and specificity of ante-mortem and post-mortem diagnostic tests for bovine tuberculosis in the UK and Ireland
Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle is a global health problem and eradication of the disease requires accurate estimates of diagnostic test performance to optimize their efficiency. The objective of this study was, through statistical meta-analyses, to obtain estimates of sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp), for 14 different ante-mortem and post-mortem diagnostic tests for bTB in cattle. Using data from a systematic review of the scientific literature (published 1934–2009) diagnostic Se and Sp were estimated using Bayesian logistic regression models adjusting for confounding factors. Random effect terms were used to account for unexplained heterogeneity. Parameters in the models were implemented using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC), and posterior distributions for the diagnostic parameters with adjustment for covariates (confounding factors) were obtained using the inverse logit function. Estimates for Se and/or Sp of the tuberculin skin tests and the IFN-γ blood test were compared with estimates published 2010–2015. Median Se for the single intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin skin (SICCT) test (standard interpretation) was 0.50 and Bayesian credible intervals (CrI) were wide (95% CrI 0.26, 0.78). Median Sp for the SICCT test was 1.00 (95% CrI 0.99, 1.00). Estimates for the IFN-γ blood test Bovine Purified Protein Derivative (PPD)-Avian PPD and Early Secreted Antigen target 6 and Culture Filtrate Protein 10 (ESAT-6/CFP10) ESAT6/CFP10 were 0.67 (95% CrI 0.49, 0.82) and 0.78 (95% CrI 0.60, 0.90) respectively for Se, and 0.98 (95% CrI 0.96, 0.99) and 0.99 (95% CrI 0.99, 1.00) for Sp. The study provides an overview of the accuracy of a range of contemporary diagnostic tests for bTB in cattle. Better understanding of diagnostic test performance is essential for the design of effective control strategies and their evaluation.