Specific antibody to Pseudomonas pseudomallei exotoxin was detected in sheep sera exposed to natural infection. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used. Serum antitoxin was present in 49.3% of sera obtained from a flock of sheep naturally exposed to P. pseudomallei infection. Among these sera, 17.0% gave titers of 10,000. In contrast, serum antitoxin was present in only 6.0% of sera collected from sheep kept on a melioidosis-free farm. The ELISA reactivity of all positive sera could be completely absorbed with purified P. pseudomallei exotoxin. Similarly, preincubation of the exotoxin-coated wells with specific antiserum inhibited the ELISA reactivity of sheep sera. The results indicate that exotoxin is produced in vivo during infection by P. pseudomallei.
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