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Comparison of antigen detection and quantitative PCR in the detection of chlamydial infection in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Jon Hanger a,b, Joanne Loader a,b, Charles Wan c, Kenneth W. Beagley c, Peter Timms c, Adam Polkinghorne c,

a Endeavour Veterinary Ecology, Toorbul, Queensland, Australia

b Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Beerwah, Queensland, Australia

c Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

ABSTRACT

The gold standard method for detecting chlamydial infection in domestic and wild animals is PCR, but the technique is not suited to testing animals in the field when a rapid diagnosis is frequently required. The objective of this study was to compare the results of a commercially available enzyme immunoassay test for Chlamydia against a quantitative Chlamydia pecorum-specific PCR performed on swabs collected from the conjunctival sac, nasal cavity and urogenital sinuses of naturally infected koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).

The level of agreement for positive results between the two assays was low (43.2%). The immunoassay detection cut-off was determined as approximately 400 C. pecorum copies, indicating that the test was sufficiently sensitive to be used for the rapid diagnosis of active chlamydial infections.