Strategies for screening young stock for antibodies - optimising numbers to test, cut-points & predictive values for bovine viral diarrhoea virus
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The antibody seroprevalence of young stock can be a useful indicator of recent or current infection in a herd. We examine the factors that contribute to the assessment of herd exposure to disease, via spot testing for antibody, using bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDv) as an example. A statistical distribution of seroprevalences for BVDv in beef herds identified three groups of herds: low, intermediate and high within-herd BVDv antibody seroprevalence. We tested two assumptions –the intermediate seroprevalence group of herds is assumed to be negative for BVDv at the herd level and alternatively if this group is assumed to be positive. We found that: The herd-level sensitivity and specificity are sensitive to the assumption regarding the herds with intermediate seroprevalence. If an appropriate cut-point is chosen, reducing the sample size from ten to five does not produce a large drop in herd-level test performance. Increasing the cut-point may be valuable at the outset of an eradication programme. Increasing the sample size and decreasing the cut-point is advantageous towards the end of an eradication programme, to minimise the risk of positive herds being misclassified. The framework presented here illustrates how seroprevalence screening may be understood and assessed.
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