We describe an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that utilizes anticanine immunoglobulin for the measurement of rabies-specific antibody in the sera of the major domestic and wildlife reservoirs of rabies in North America. Sufficient cross-reactivity was found to exist between anticanine IgG and serum antibody from all carnivores tested, including dogs, cats, foxes (Vulpes vulpes), skunks (Mephitis sp.) and raccoons (Procyon lotor). With sera of most species, good correlation was observed between results obtained with the ELISA and with the fluorescence inhibition microtest (FIMT). Some wildlife specimens, particularly of skunk and raccoon origin, were cytotoxic in the FIMT, resulting in possible false-positive reactions. In view of this, and since the ELISA is rapid, economical and reproducible (coefficient of variation < 13%), we consider it to be a favorable alternative to the fluorescence inhibition test for assay of wildlife sera.
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