Sera from non-infected cattle and cattle infected with Anaplasma, Babesia, Theileria and Sarcocystis were tested for antibodies to Besnoitia in ELISA and immunofluorescence tests (IFT) with Besnoitia besnoiti of blue wildebeest origin as antigen. Only 2 out of 86 sera gave false positive reactions in ELISA and none in the IFT, indicating a high specificity for the tests. Three-hundred-and-three bovine sera from 3 farms in an area endemic for besnoitiosis were similarly tested and the results were correlated with clinical findings based on visual inspection for typical symptoms and the presence of cysts in the scleral conjunctiva. Most of the positive tests were observed in cattle older than 1 year. Of the cases with scleral cysts, 68,7% were positive in the ELISA and 81,74% in the IFT. However, 45,74% (ELlSA) and 49,47% (IFT) of the clinically negative cattle were clinically positive, indicating a high incidence of clinically inapparent infection. These results indicate a relatively low sensitivity for these serological tests. An unexpected finding was that the ELISA remained negative for at least 60 days after experimental infection of the cattle, the maximum period for which tests were done, whereas the IFT became positive. No antibodies against B. besnoiti could be found in human sera. Besnoitia jellisoni antigen gave positive results with B. besnoili antibodies in ELISA, but not in the IFT.
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