Comparative evaluation of different antigen detection methods for the detection of peste des petits ruminants virus
Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a fatal disease of small ruminants which has spread rapidly to previously PPR-free countries in recent decades, causing enormous economic losses in the affected regions. Here, two newly emerged PPR virus (PPRV) isolates from India and from the Middle East were tested in an animal trial to analyze their pathogenesis, and to evaluate serological and molecular detection methods. Animals infected with the two different PPRV isolates showed marked differences in clinical manifestation and scoring. The PPRV isolate from India was less virulent than the virus from the Middle East. Commercially available rapid detection methods for PPRV antigen (two Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) and one antigen ELISA) were evaluated in comparison with a nucleic acid detection method. For this purpose, ocular and nasal swabs were used. Due to the easy non-invasive sampling, fecal samples were also analyzed. For all rapid antigen detection methods a high specificity of 100% was observed independent of the sample matrix and dilution buffers used. Both, antigen ELISA and LFD tests showed highest sensitivities for nasal swabs. Here, the detection rate of the antigen ELISA, the LFD-PESTE-TEST and the LFD-ID Rapid-Test was 78%, 75% and 78%, respectively. Ocular swabs were less suitable for antigen detection of PPRV. These results reflect the increased viral load in nasal swabs of PPRV infected goats compared to ocular swabs. The fecal samples were the least suitable for antigen detection. In conclusion, nasal swab samples are the first choice for the antigen and genome detection of PPRV. Nevertheless, based on the excellent diagnostic specificity of the rapid tests, positive results generated with other sample matrices are solid. In contrast, negative test results can be caused on the reduced analytical sensitivity of the rapid antigen tests and must be treated with caution.