The Star, May 17, 1999

Local vets sceptical about
CDC's testing methods

Perak surprised SPCA dogs are +ve

By V.P. Sujata and Kuldeep S. Jessy

IPOH: Private veterinarians here were surprised by the news that 20 dogs from the Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) would be put down after testing positive for the Nipah virus.

Expressing his scepticism, a veterinarian, who did want to be named, has questioned the accuracy of the ELISA test conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta to detect the Nipah virus.

He said the blood samples of two private-owned dogs had been sent by two local veterinarians to be tested together with the blood samples of the ISPCA dogs and cats and that both animals had tested positive.

He said the two dogs in question were neither near the Nipah high-risk area, nor were they ever at ISPCA.

"We want to know the specificity of the Nipah test conducted by the CDC.

"I suspect that the blood samples of all the 20 dogs might have shown positive because of a cross reaction between the Nipah virus antigen used for the test and the vaccine viruses normally given to dogs once a year.

"The six-in-one distemper vaccination given to dogs has six vaccine viruses of which three are of the paramyxo virus type," he said.

Another veterinarian said the ISPCA was located far from the Nipah high-risk areas of Tambun, Ampang and Ulu Piah.

When the JE Task Force Lab in Kuala Lumpur was contacted on the matter the CDC officer stationed in the country declined to comment.

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