, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 264-267

Prevalence of Neospora caninum infection in Sardinian dairy farms (Italy) detected by iscom ELISA on tank bulk milk

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Neospora caninum is a heteroxenous cyst-forming coccidian closely related to Toxoplasma gondii and is considered one of the major causes of abortions in cattle worldwide. The present work aims to update the epidemiological trend of N. caninum of dairy cattle in Sardinia island, Western Mediterranean (Italy). For this reason, we used the newest enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) methodology that exploits immune-stimulating complexes (iscoms) principle and allows us to point out the infection in the tank bulk milk too, besides the individual cattle. A total of 624 herds were sampled and tank bulk milk was submitted to iscom ELISA test. The analysis of the tank bulk milk samples revealed a total farm prevalence of 55% for N. caninum in Sardinia. In the provinces of Oristano and Cagliari the prevalences (64 and 65%, respectively) were significantly higher (p<0.01) than in Sassari and Nuoro (41 and 40%, respectively). The iscom Elisa test applied on tank bulk milk seems to be helpful and cost-effective for large epidemiological surveys, for monitoring control strategy plans for N. caninum, and for increasing the bio-safety level in dairy cattle farms.