A lateral flow assay for the rapid diagnosis of Mycobacterium bovis infection in wild boar.
The native Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) is a reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of animal tuberculosis (TB), a chronic disease in livestock, companion animals and wild mammals. Cases of M. bovis infection in wild boar or feral pig have been reported worldwide, making early detection a priority in the eradication of the disease. Point-of-care diagnostic tests, such as low cost lateral flow assays, provide high specificity and sensitivity and can be performed on site, an essential requirement for a rapid screening of wildlife. A lateral flow assay, LFA, (INgezim TB CROM Ab) for the detection of M. bovis-specific antibodies in wild boar serum and blood has been developed based on MPB83, one of the major immunogenic antigens of the bacterium. A total of 140 samples of wild boar serum, well-characterized by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex culture and TB compatible post-mortem lesions, have been analysed with LFA, and results were compared with one in-house and two commercial Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA), INgezim TB Porcine and INgezim Tuberculosis DR. In experimental samples, the achieved values of sensitivity of the different techniques ranged from 84.3% to 92.1% and the specificity was 100% in all of them. In field animals, specificity ranged from 96% to 100%, whereas sensitivity ranged from 48% to 64% in juvenile wild boar, increasing to 93.3%-100% in adult wild boar. In particular, the total sensitivity and specificity values obtained with the new LFA were 83% and 97%, respectively, indicating that INgezim TB CROM Ab could be used as a first approach for the surveillance of TB in wild boar, with a special applicability for animal-side testing.