Sera from calves, either experimentally or naturally infected with Taenia saginata, were screened for an antibody response to T. saginata, and for parasite antigen, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). An antibody response was detected by 3 weeks post infection (p.i.), rose to a peak at 10–12 weeks p.i., and was still in evidence 1 year p.i. Parasite antigen was first detected 4–7 weeks p.i. and persisted until the end of the experimeent, over 1 year p.i. In the experimentally infected animals, cattle with 14 or more live cysticerci had detectable levels of parasite antigen in their sera at slaughter, while animals with live cyst burdens ranging from 0 to 4 were negative. Furtermore, levels of circulating antigen were positively correlated with live cysticercus burden in the experimental animals. In naturally infected cattle, 83% (5/6) of those with 30 or more live cysts, and 22% (5/23) of those with 1–29 live cysts, could be detected by the ELISA for parasite antigen, although no significant correlation between antigen level and live cyst burden could be detected. Antibody levels were not found to be associated with cyst burdens in either experimentally or naturally infected cattle. In slaughterhouse cattle, the antigen assay was almost three times as sensitive as meat inspection. However, there was no agreement between cattle found positive at meat inspection and those found positive by the antigen detection ELISA. One possible reason is that the ELISA only detects live cysts, while lesions left by dead cysts are more noticeable at meat inspection. The mouse monoclonal antibody-based antigen detection ELISA is of value for the diagnosis of naturally occurring, viable, T. saginata cysticercosis in live cattle and has an immediate application for field based epidemiological studies designed to determine prevalence.
Onyango-Abuje, J.A.; Hughes, G.; Opicha, M.; Nginyi, J.; Rugutt, M.K.; Wright, S.H.; Harrison, L.J.S. Diagnosis of Taenia saginata cysticercosis in Kenyan cattle by antibody and antigen ELISA. Veterinary Parasitology (1996) 61 (3-4) 221-230. [DOI: 10.1016/0304-4017(95)00840-3]