California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System

Photo: Immunology

Immunology

The Immunology/Serology section’s mission is to provide the highest quality services for serological diagnosis of infectious diseases of livestock and poultry, routine testing for export or sale requirements, and support for surveillance and investigative activities performed by regulatory agencies for diseases of economic and zoonotic importance. The key responsibilities of the serology section include accurate and timely testing, development and improvement of services offered, quality assurance of those services, and client education/support for the serology section services. The serology section operates as a single unit, emphasizing standardization and consistency system-wide. Serologic testing is performed in all four laboratories.

The serologic services include testing of serum for specific antibodies, interpretation of test results, herd and flock serologic profiling, and consultation/assistance with sampling and test selection for appropriate diagnostic work-up or health certification. Immunology section technicians are also cross-trained to perform antigen-detection ELISA tests offered throughout the CAHFS. The Immunology service provides back-up support as required to other sections in the CAHFS laboratories, including BSE testing and Avian Virology.

The serology workload is shared through the system, with branch laboratories having specific areas of expertise or emphasis dependent on the industries located in their region. The Davis laboratory provides system-wide support and serves to coordinate the quality assurance program and standards throughout the system. The Turlock laboratory provides avian serology testing and BVDV antigen ELISA testing. The Tulare laboratory is the center for Brucella regulatory serology for the CAHFS. The San Bernardino laboratory provides avian and mammalian serologic testing, as well as a significant volume of Brucella slaughter surveillance.

The technologies utilized in the CAHFS for serologic testing include: agglutination, micro-agglutination, immunodiffusion, hemagglutination inhibition, complement fixation, serum virus neutralization, indirect FA, and ELISA.  ELISA testing includes both commercially available kits and in-house developed assays.