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Prevalence and distribution of mastitis pathogens in subclinically infected dairy cows in Flanders, Belgium

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2007

Sofie Piepers*
Affiliation:
Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
Luc De Meulemeester
Affiliation:
Animal Health Service Flanders, Torhout, Belgium
Aart de Kruif
Affiliation:
Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
Geert Opsomer
Affiliation:
Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
Herman W Barkema
Affiliation:
Department of Production Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
Sarne De Vliegher
Affiliation:
Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
*
*For correspondence; e-mail: Sofie.Piepers@UGent.be

Abstract

The main objective was to determine the prevalence of intramammary infections (IMI) in dairy cows in Flanders, Belgium. Data were obtained from quarter milk samples of dairy herds subjected to a mandatory yearly screening of all lactating cows. A total of 178 668 quarter milk samples were collected at 1087 cross-sectional dairy herd screenings performed in three consecutive years. Of the dairy cows, 40% had at least one culture-positive quarter. More than 50% of all IMI were caused by non-aureus staphylococci. Streptococcus agalactiae is almost eradicated in Flanders, whereas Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 18% of the culture-positive quarters. In addition, the distribution of mastitis pathogens in quarter milk samples from selected dairy cows with an elevated somatic cell count (SCC) is described. From 6390 cows with a geometric mean composite SCC ⩾250 000 cells/ml, nearly 65% had at least one culture-positive quarter. The majority of the IMI were caused by non-aureus staphylococci (41·1%), whereas Staph. aureus and aesculin-positive cocci were found in respectively 25% and 18% of the culture-positive milk samples. We conclude that more efforts are needed in the prevention and control of subclinical mastitis in Flanders. Non-aureus staphylococci are the predominant cause of IMI, warranting more research regarding the epidemiology and pathogenicity of those species.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research 2007

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