More sensitive tests are required for the diagnosis of Tritrichomonas foetus infection in cattle and an antigen-detecting enzyme immunoassay (EIA) has been applied to this purpose. An affinity purified immunoglobulin fraction obtained from rabbits immunised with cultured T. foetus served as both capture antibody and as biotinylated indicator antibody. While highly sensitive in the detection of antigen derived from cultured organisms, the assay showed poor sensitivity in the detection of antigen in the cervico-vaginal mucus of artificially infected heifers, with only 75% of culture-positive samples being considered positive for antigen. In a direct comparison, 23 122 samples from a naturally infected dairy herd gave positive cultures, while only 10 122 samples were considered antigen positive by EIA.
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