TB testing in cattle

Tuberculin Skin Test

The main screening test for TB in cattle in Great Britain is the single intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin test (SICCT). This is commonly known as the tuberculin skin test, which is used throughout the world in its various formats to screen cattle, other animals and people for TB. It is the internationally accepted standard for detecting Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) infection in live animals.

Rather than detect the bacterium itself, tests for bovine TB in live animals generally detect and measure the animal’s immune response to the bacterium.

  > Click here for more information about the tuberculin skin test

  > Click here for Defra guidance on testing for TB in your herd

Interferon-gamma Blood test

The interferon gamma (IFN-γ) blood test is a laboratory-based supplementary test for the diagnosis of TB in cattle. It is approved in the EU for use in conjunction with the skin test in specific circumstances where it is needed to increase the overall diagnostic sensitivity (usually in known infected herds under TB restrictions).

Click here for more information on the interferon-gamma blood test

> Click here for Research in Veterinary Science via Academia.edu. De la Rua-Domenech R, Goodchild AT, Vordermeier HM, Hewinson RG, Christiansen KH, Clifton-Hadley RS (2006). Ante mortem diagnosis of tuberculosis in cattle: A review of the tuberculin tests, γ-interferon assay and other ancillary diagnostic techniques

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Antibody Tests

Antibody or serological blood tests have been developed to detect bovine TB, but no antibody tests are officially approved to test for TB in cattle in the EU.

> Click here for DARDNI Literature Review. Strain SAJ, McNair J, McDowell SWJ (2011). Bovine tuberculosis: A review of diagnostic tests for M. bovis infection in cattle