Use of a polymerase chain reaction assay to detect bovine leukosis virus in dairy cattle

Dusty W. Nagy Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

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 DVM, DACVIM
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Jeff W. Tyler Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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 DVM, PhD, DACVIM
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Steven B. Kleiboeker Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Aaron Stoker Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in detecting bovine leukosis virus (BLV) in adult dairy cows.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—223 adult dairy cows.

Procedure—Cows were tested for BLV status by use of an ELISA and a PCR assay. Sensitivity, specificity, predictive values of positive and negative tests, and the percentage of cows correctly classified by PCR assay were calculated. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals were calculated for sensitivity and specificity.

Results—Sensitivity and specificity were 0.672 and 1.00, respectively. Prevalence of BLV in this herd was 0.807. Predictive value of a positive test was 1.00, and predictive value of a negative test was 0.421. The percentage of cows correctly classified by PCR assay was 73.5%.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A positive PCR assay result provided definitive evidence that a cow was infected with BLV. Sensitivity and negative predictive value for PCR assay were low. Consequently, PCR assay alone is unreliable for routine detection of BLV in herds with high prevalence of the disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:983–985)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the use of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in detecting bovine leukosis virus (BLV) in adult dairy cows.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—223 adult dairy cows.

Procedure—Cows were tested for BLV status by use of an ELISA and a PCR assay. Sensitivity, specificity, predictive values of positive and negative tests, and the percentage of cows correctly classified by PCR assay were calculated. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals were calculated for sensitivity and specificity.

Results—Sensitivity and specificity were 0.672 and 1.00, respectively. Prevalence of BLV in this herd was 0.807. Predictive value of a positive test was 1.00, and predictive value of a negative test was 0.421. The percentage of cows correctly classified by PCR assay was 73.5%.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A positive PCR assay result provided definitive evidence that a cow was infected with BLV. Sensitivity and negative predictive value for PCR assay were low. Consequently, PCR assay alone is unreliable for routine detection of BLV in herds with high prevalence of the disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:983–985)

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