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Prev Vet Med. 2010 Jan 1;93(1):66-70. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2009.08.008. Epub 2009 Oct 31.

Association between an outbreak strain causing mycoplasma bovis mastitis and its asymptomatic carriage in the herd: a case study from Idaho, USA.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Science, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163-6610, USA.


The objective of this study was to determine the association between mycoplasma mastitis and colonization of mycoplasma organisms at body sites of asymptomatic carriers. The investigation was done in a dairy herd with a first outbreak of mycoplasma mastitis. Milk and swab solution specimens from accessible mucosal surfaces of body sites from cows and replacements were sampled at quarterly intervals (Herd Samplings 1-4). Samples were cultured and Mycoplasma spp. were isolated, speciated and fingerprinted. During Herd Sampling 1 two cows with mycoplasma bovis mastitis were identified and all swabbing solutions of body site samples from 18 of 84 cows and 36 of 77 replacements were positive to Mycoplasma bovis and fingerprinted as the same strain. A case of clinical M. bovis mastitis developed during Herd Sampling 3. During Herd Samplings 2-4, 4 lactating cows and 12 replacements were positive to M. bovis at various body sites with 4 different strains. Three isolates of Mycoplasma californicum were found from swabbing solutions of three cows during Herd Samplings 3 and 4. Only one strain of M. bovis caused mastitis although four strains were isolated from body sites of animals. Isolation of M. bovis from a body site never preceded mastitis. No lactating cow developed mastitis during Herd Sampling 4 although some animals were colonized with the organism. It appears that during the initial outbreak of M. bovis mastitis colonization of body sites by the outbreak strain may be common. However, the prevalence of colonization subsides and colonization does not appear to precede mastitis.

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