Objective—To determine whether an interferon (IFN)-γ response sufficient to categorize cattle as positive for tuberculosis can be detected in blood collected at commencement of exsanguination at slaughter.
Animals—15 Holstein cows.
Procedures—12 cows were experimentally sensitized by SC injection with inactivated Mycobacterium bovis in mineral oil, which induced an immune response that mimicked natural infection with M bovis. Three nonsensitized control cows were injected SC with mineral oil alone. By 5 weeks after injection, only the 12 sensitized cows had positive results for tuberculosis with whole blood IFN-γ assay. At that time, all 15 cows were sent to slaughter and samples of blood were collected from each cow immediately before stunning and at commencement of exsanguination (within 90 seconds after stunning). A whole blood IFN-γ assay was performed on the samples. Conditional probability and paired t tests were used to analyze changes in the categorical test interpretation and qualitative IFN-γ production, respectively.
Results—All 12 sensitized cows had positive results for tuberculosis in samples obtained immediately before stunning, and 9 retained positive results for samples obtained at commencement of exsanguination. There was a significant decrease in the mean background-corrected IFN-γ ELISA optical density values for samples obtained at commencement of exsanguination.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—IFN-γ response sufficient to classify cattle as positive for tuberculosis could be detected in blood collected at commencement of exsanguination. These findings support further development and use of the IFN-γ assay on blood samples collected at exsanguination as part of a bovine tuberculosis surveillance program.
OBJECTIVE To determine whether Mycobacterium bovis remains viable in ensiled forages.
SAMPLE Alfalfa, mixed mostly grass, and corn silages.
PROCEDURES For each of 10 sampling days, six 250-g replicate samples of each feedstuff were created and placed in a film pouch that could be vacuum sealed to simulate the ensiling process. Within each set of replicate samples, 4 were inoculated with 10 mL of mycobacterial liquid culture medium containing viable M bovis and 2 were inoculated with 10 mL of sterile mycobacterial liquid culture medium (controls) on day 0. Pouches were vacuum sealed and stored in the dark at room temperature. On the designated sampling day, 1 control pouch was submitted for forage analysis, and the other pouches were opened, and forage samples were obtained for M bovis culture and analysis with a PCR assay immediately and 24 hours later.
RESULTS None of the control samples had positive M bovis culture or PCR assay results. Among M bovis-inoculated samples, the organism was not cultured from alfalfa and corn silage for > 2 days but was cultured from mixed mostly grass silage for 28 days after inoculation and ensiling initiation. Mycobacterium bovis DNA was detected by PCR assay in samples of all 3 feedstuffs throughout the 112-day observation period.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that properly ensiled forages would be an unlikely source for M bovis transmission to cattle. Further research is necessary to determine whether ensiling kills M bovis or forces it to become dormant and, if the latter, elucidate the conditions that cause it to revert to an infectious state.