A Rapid Dot Immunoassay for the Detection of Serum Antibodies to Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis and St. Louis Encephalitis Viruses in Sentinel Chickens

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  • * Naval Medical Research Institute, Naval Medical Command, Department of the Navy, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
  • National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Washington, DC 20418
  • Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742

A dot enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay utilizing a novel membrane, polyvinylidene difluoride, is described. This assay was developed for the rapid detection of serum antibodies to eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus and St. Louis encephalitis virus in sentinel chickens. Antigens were spot-filtered through the membrane. Membranes were dipped into small vials of sera. Antigen-antibody complexes were detected with enzyme-conjugated antiglobulin which, when exposed to substrate, produced a colored insoluble product. The antibody detection protocol was completed within 50 min and was compared with a standard plate enzyme immunoassay. Chickens were experimentally infected with eastern equine encephalomyelitis and St. Louis encephalitis and bled on a daily basis. The dot immunoassay correctly identified 99% (123/124) of the eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus and 100% (67/67) of the St. Louis encephalitis virus antisera. Sera from sentinel chicken flocks in Maryland were also assayed. These data indicate that the dot immunoassay should be considered as an alternative to current assays for the screening of sera for antibodies to virus antigens. This assay could easily be performed in the field and allows for the screening of antibodies to several different viruses in one test.

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