A sucrose-acetone-extracted, Madin-Darby-bovine-kidney (MDBK)-derived Rift Valley fever virus
(RVFV) antigen was tested both in an indirect ELISA and a haemagglutination-inhibition test for its ability
to detect serum antibodies to RVFV. Optimal conditions for antigen concentration, serum and conjugate dilutions for the ELISA were established by checkerboard titration. The specificity and sensitivity
of ELISA were determined by the use of paired pre- and post-vaccination sheep-serum samples. Compared with the virus neutralization test, the overall ELISA specificity and sensitivity were 97,4 and 97,3 %, respectively. There was a 100% correlation between the results obtained in haemagglutination-inhibition tests with a RVFV sucrose-acetone-extracted antigen derived from hamster liver, and from MDBK cells. A total of 10 582 field-serum samples (84 cattle, 3 659 sheep, 6 839 goats) collected in 1994-1995 from animals of unknown vaccination status in different regions of South Africa were tested with ELISA for antibodies against RVFV. There were no seropositive cattle, 0,16% seropositive sheep and 0,12% seropositive goats. This study demonstrates the potential diagnostic application of cell-culture-derived, sucrose-acetone-extracted RVFV antigen in an indirect ELISA and HI test.
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