Brucellosis is a disease of veterinary and public health importance worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the bacterium Brucella abortus has been identified in several free-ranging wildlife species, successful disease control may be dependent on accurate detection in wildlife reservoirs, including African buffalo (Syncerus caffer). We estimated the sensitivity and specificity of a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (IDEXX Brucellosis Serum Ab test, IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, Maine, USA) for B. abortus based on a data set of 571 serum samples from 258 buffalo in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. We defined a pseudogold standard test result as those buffalo that were consistently positive or negative on two additional serologic tests, namely, the rose bengal test (RBT) and the complement fixation test (CFT). The ELISA's cutoff value was selected using receiver operating characteristics analysis, the pseudogold standard, and a threshold criterion that maximizes the total sensitivity and specificity. Then, we estimated the sensitivity and specificity of all three tests using Bayesian inference and latent class analysis. The ELISA had an estimated sensitivity of 0.928 (95% Bayesian posterior credibility interval [95% BCI] = 0.869–0.974) and specificity of 0.870 (95% BCI = 0.836–0.900). Compared with the ELISA, the RBT had a higher estimated sensitivity of 0.986 (95% BCI = 0.928–0.999), and both the RBT and CFT had higher specificities, estimated to be 0.992 (95% BCI = 0.971–0.996) and 0.998 (95% BCI = 0.992–0.999), respectively. Therefore, no single serologic test perfectly detected the antibody. However, after adjustment of cutoff values for South African conditions, the IDEXX Brucellosis Serum Ab Test may be a valuable additional screening test for brucellosis in Kruger National Park's African buffalo.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1