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A comparison of serologic tests for the detection of serum antibodies to whole-cell and recombinant Borrelia burgdorferi antigens in cattle antigens in cattle

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Publication Date
  • Scientific
  • Biology


Serum samples from healthy dairy and beef cattle, living in tick-infested areas of Connecticut, USA, were analyzed by polyvalent enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) staining methods, or Western blot procedures to detect antibodies to tick-borne agents. Of the 80 sera tested by ELISA with whole-cell or 10 separate recombinant antigens (fusion proteins) of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, 57 (71%) were positive to 1 or more antigens, while 36 (45%) reacted to whole-cell antigens by IFA staining methods. Three (4%) of 80 samples had antibodies to Anaplasma phagocytophilum. There were anti bodies to outer surface protein (Osp) A, OspB, OspC, OspE, OspF, protein (p) 41-G, p35, p37, and VlsE antigens of B. burgdorferi, but there was no reactivity to the p39 antigen by ELISA. Western immunoblots of a subset of 9 sera verified antibody presence in all samples and showed distinct reactivities to multiple proteins having molecular masses of about 31 kilodaltons (kDa), 34 kDa, 35 kDa, 41 kDa, and 83/93 kDa. High specificity (97%) was noted when 16 cattle sera containing antibodies to Leptospira interrogans serovars, Brucella sp., Anaplasma marginale, or A. phagocytophilum were tested by ELISA with separate whole-cell or recombinant B. burgdorferi antigens. An ELISA and Western blot analyses can be used to confirm the exposure of cattle to B. burgdorferi.

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