Quantitative analysis of levels of serum immunoglobulin G against botulinum neurotoxin type D and association with protection in natural outbreaks of cattle botulism

A. Steinman, M. Chaffer, D. Elad, N. Y. Shpigel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recent outbreaks of cattle botulism in vaccinated Israeli dairy cattle prompted us to determine vaccine efficacy and reasons for vaccine failure. Analysis of clinical signs, feeding practice, vaccination history, and epidemic curves enabled us to define a study population in two outbreaks, where high doses of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin type D (BoNT/D) were evenly consumed by the affected animal groups. Attack rates among unvaccinated 6- to 24-month-old heifers were 96% (55/57) and 85% (53/62). The attack rates in vaccinated parity 1, 2, and ≥3 cows were 40.4% (21/52), 14.3% (4/28), and 5.6% (3/54), respectively. Vaccine efficacies for these cow groups were 52.5%, 83.2%, and 93.4%, respectively. In younger, unvaccinated 2- to 6-month-old calves, presumably protected by maternal antibodies, the attack rate was 24% (17/71). These differences correlated with significant differences in levels of specific anti-BoNT/D antibody in serum by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The ELISA performance for predicting protection was analyzed by receiver operating characteristic analysis and was found to be highly significant, with an area under the curve of 0.941 (standard error, 0.034; 95% confidence interval, 0.875 to 1.008; P < 0.000). No animals with serum ELISA unit levels above 033 were affected in these exposed groups. At this cutoff level, the specificity of the ELISA was 100%, sensitivity was 67%, and accuracy was 92%. We concluded that botulinum toxoids can confer adequate protection against natural exposure to lethal doses of BoNT/D; however, the vaccination protocols should be optimized. Our in-house ELISA system will enable us to optimize vaccination protocols in the animal population.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)862-868
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2006

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