In 1997 a 26-yr-old gemsbok (Oryx gazelle gazelle) died of bovine tuberculosis in a zoo. Three remaining gemsbok were administered the comparative tuberculin skin test repeatedly over a period of 5 mo. Two animals showed inconclusive results on the second test. All three gemsbok were euthanatized. Mycobacterium bovis was isolated from one of those with an inconclusive skin test result, whereas Mycobacterium fortuitum was detected in the other gemsbok. Eight years later, an onager (Equus hemionus onager) died of bovine tuberculosis. This animal had been kept in the same building as the gemsbok. Three herd mates were culled after administering the comparative tuberculin skin test. They were all nonreactors and produced no evidence of tuberculosis at postmortem examination. Retrospectively, using plasma samples collected from the gemsbok and onagers, three antibody tests, Elephant TB STAT-PAK, multiantigen print immunoassay (MAPIA), and dual-path platform (DPP) VetTB (Chembio Diagnostic Systems Inc., Medford, New York, 11763, USA), were used to assess their diagnostic value for these species. The M. bovis–infected gemsbok tested strongly positive by Elephant TB STAT-PAK at the time of euthanasia and 5 mo earlier when the skin test was negative. This animal was not antibody reactive in MAPIA and DPP VetTB. No M. bovis–specific antibody was detected in the other two gemsboks by any of the immunoassays. Among the onagers, Elephant TB STAT-PAK, MAPIA, and DPP VetTB revealed gradually increasing antibody response in the animal that died of bovine tuberculosis, but not in the three disease-free herd mates euthanatized. Seroconversion in the M. bovis–infected onager was first noticed 5 yr before death when the tuberculin skin test was negative.
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