Plague surveillance is routinely conducted to predict future epizootics in wildlife and exposure risk for humans. The most common surveillance method for sylvatic plague is detection of antibodies to Yersinia pestis F1 capsular antigen in sentinel animals, such as coyotes (Canis latrans). Current serologic tests for Y. pestis, hemagglutination (HA) test and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), are expensive and labor intensive. To address this need, we developed a complete lateral flow device for the detection of specific antibodies to Y. pestis F1 and V antigens. Our test detected anti-F1 and anti-V antibodies in serum and Nobuto filter paper samples from coyotes, and in serum samples from prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), lynx (Lynx canadensis), and black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes). Comparison of cassette results for anti-F1 and anti-V antibodies with results of ELISA or HA tests showed correlations ranging from 0.68 to 0.98. This device provides an affordable, user-friendly tool that may be useful in plague surveillance programs and as a research tool.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2