Comparative kinetics of serological and coproantigen ELISA and faecal egg count in cattle experimentally infected with Fasciola hepatica and following treatment with triclabendazole Academic Article uri icon


  • Three methods of diagnosing Fasciola hepatica (F. hepatica) infection (a coproantigen ELISA, Bio-X Diagnostics, Belgium, Faecal Egg Count (FEC), and a serum IgG ELISA,Bio-X Diagnostics, Belgium) were evaluated in artificially infected cattle, with and without drug treatment. Specifically, the potential value of the coproantigen ELISA in the quantitation of F. hepatica infection was sought. Twelve steers were each infected with 100, 200 or 500 metacercariae (n=4 cattle/group). On day 84, post infection (PI), 2 animals from each group were treated orally with triclabendazole (TCBZ). Faecal and blood samples were collected weekly after infection from all animals, as well as over 5 consecutive days (days 105-109 PI) for the six animals remaining infected to determine the repeatability of these assays. Cattle were killed 126 days PI and the coproantigen, FEC and IgG levels were compared with the number of fluke recovered. Animals first tested positive for infection with the serum ELISA, with 11/12 animals positive on day 28, and IgG responses increased to day 42 PI. The coproantigen ELISA was first positive on day 42 (3/12 animals), with all animals positive by day 56 PI. The first F. hepatica egg was detected on day 49 from an animal infected with 500 metacercariae; however only on one occasion (day 84) did all animals return positive FEC. Within one week of treatment with TCBZ, all six treated animals had returned to negative status by coproantigen ELISA and FEC whereas IgG levels persisted. Weekly variation in both coproantigen level and FEC was evident throughout the trial. Results from the consecutive daily collections varied greatly between days for both methods, with 2-6-fold differences in coproantigen levels and 2-4-fold variation in FEC. Strong correlations were observed between fluke burdens (day 126) and day 125 coproantigen levels (R(2)=0.8718) and FEC (R(2)=0.8368). The coproantigen ELISA was more sensitive than FEC (FEC displayed false negatives) and detected infection earlier. This ELISA showed good correlation to fluke burdens in these cattle and has promise as a test for detecting low fluke burdens.

publication date

  • September 2013