This study reports the development of a real-time PCR assay and an indirect ELISA to improve on current detection of canine Angiostrongylus vasorum infection. A highly specific fluorescent probe-based, real-time PCR assay was developed to target the A. vasorum second internal transcribed spacer region and detected DNA in EDTA blood, lung tissue, broncho-alveolar larvage fluid, endotracheal mucus, pharyngeal swabs and faecal samples. PCR was fast (similar to 1 h), highly efficient when using EDTA blood samples, consistently detected a single molecule of parasite DNA and did not amplify DNA from other parasitic nematodes or definitive host species. An indirect ELISA was also developed using the soluble protein fraction from adult A. vasorum worms. Some cross-reactive antigen recognition was observed when tested against sera from dogs infected with Crenosoma vulpis (n = 8), Toxocara canis (n = 5) and Dirofilaria immitis (n = 5). This was largely overcome by setting the cut-off for a positive result at an appropriately high level. Field evaluation of the real-time PCR and ELISA was conducted by testing sera and EDTA blood from dogs with suspected A. vasorum infection (n = 148) and compared with the Baermann's larval migration test in faeces. Thirty-one dogs were positive by at least one test. Of these, 20 (65%) were detected by the Baermann method, 18 (58%) by blood PCR, 24 (77%) by ELISA and 28 (90%) by blood PCR and ELISA together. Combined testing using real-time PCR and ELISA therefore improved the detection rate of A. vasorum infection and holds promise for improved clinical diagnosis and epidemiological investigation.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|