3 years ago

An update on environmental mastitis: Challenging perceptions

R. N. Zadoks, I. C. Klaas
Summary Environmental mastitis is the most common and costly form of mastitis in modern dairy herds where contagious transmission of intramammary pathogens is controlled through implementation of standard mastitis prevention programmes. Environmental mastitis can be caused by a wide range of bacterial species, and binary classification of species as contagious or environmental is misleading, particularly for Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis and other streptococcal species, including Streptococcus agalactiae. Bovine faeces, the indoor environment and used pasture are major sources of mastitis pathogens, including Escherichia coli and S. uberis. A faeco-oral transmission cycle may perpetuate and amplify the presence of such pathogens, including Klebsiella pneumoniae and S. agalactiae. Because of societal pressure to reduce reliance on antimicrobials as tools for mastitis control, management of environmental mastitis will increasingly need to be based on prevention. This requires a reduction in environmental exposure through bedding, pasture and pre-milking management and enhancement of the host response to bacterial challenge. Efficacious vaccines are available to reduce the impact of coliform mastitis, but vaccine development for gram-positive mastitis has not progressed beyond the “promising” stage for decades. Improved diagnostic tools to identify causative agents and transmission patterns may contribute to targeted use of antimicrobials and intervention measures. The most important tool for improved uptake of known mastitis prevention measures is communication. Development of better technical or biological tools for management of environmental mastitis must be accompanied by development of appropriate incentives and communication strategies for farmers and veterinarians, who may be confronted with government-mandated antimicrobial use targets if voluntary reduction is not implemented.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/tbed.12704

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