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Comparison of techniques for demonstrating antibodies to Rift Valley fever virus

  • R. Swanepoel (a1), J. K. Struthers (a1), M. J. Erasmus (a1), S. P. Shepherd (a1), G. M. McGillivray (a1), B. J. Erasmus (a2) and B. J. H. Barnard (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 19 October 2009

Nine serological techniques were compared by monitoring the response to infection with Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus in three sheep. Antibodies were monitored daily for the first 14 days after infection, then weekly and later fortnightly up to week 24. The earliest antibody response was detected in one sheep on day 3 by a plaque reduction neutralization test, and by day 6 antibodies were demonstrable in all three sheep by haemagglutination-inhibition, reversed passive haemagglutination-inhibition, immunodiffusion, indirect immunofluorescence (IF), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and neutralization of cytopathic effect in cell cultures. Antibodies were demonstrable by complement fixation on day 8 at the earliest. IF and the two neutralization techniques produced the highest titres, but all tests could be used satisfactorily for the serological diagnosis of RVF. Inactivated antigen could be used for all except the neutralization tests. A radioimmunoassay technique using 125I-labelIed staphylococcal protein A detected antibodies on day 8 at the earliest and produced lower mean titres than some of the other techniques. This was probably because sheep immunoglobulins bind protein A poorly.

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P. H. Cleveland , D. D. Richman , M. N. Oxman , M. G. Wickham , P. S. Binder & D. M. Worthen (1979). Immobilization of viral antigens on filter paper for a [125I]staphylococcal protein A immunoassay: a rapid and sensitive technique for detection of Herpes simplex virus antigens and antiviral antibodies. Journal of Immunological Methods 29, 360386.

F. G. Davies (1975). Observations on the epidemiology of Rift Valley fever in Kenya. Journal of Hygiene 75, 219230.

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B. Niklasson , J. M. Meegan & E. Bengtsson (1979). Antibodies to Rift Valley fever virus in Swedish U.N. soldiers in Egypt and the Sinai. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 11, 313314.

D. D. Richman , P. H. Cleveland , M. N. Oxman & J. A. Zaia (1981). A rapid radioimmunoassay using 125I-labelled staphylococcal protein A for antibody to varicella-zoster virus. Journal of Infectious Diseases 143, 693699.

J. K. Struthers , R. Swanepoel & S. Shepherd (1984). Protein synthesis in Rift Valley fever virus-infected cells. Virology 134, 118124.

J. A. Zaia & M. N. Oxman (1977). Antibody to Varicella-Zoster virus-induced membrane antigen: immunofluorescence assay using monodisperse glutaraldehyde-fixed target cells. Journal of Infectious Diseases 136, 519530.

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