Streptococcus agalactiae in the environment of bovine dairy herds – rewriting the textbooks?

Jørgensen, H.J., Nordstoga, A.B., Sviland, S., Zadoks, R.N. , Sølverød, L., Kvitle, B. and Mørk, T. (2016) Streptococcus agalactiae in the environment of bovine dairy herds – rewriting the textbooks? Veterinary Microbiology, 184, pp. 64-72. (doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.12.014) (PMID:26854346)

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Many free-stall bovine dairy herds in Norway fail to eradicate Streptococcus agalactiae despite long-term control measures. In a longitudinal study of 4 free-stall herds with automatic milking systems (AMS), milk and extramammary sites were sampled 4 times with 1-2 month intervals. Composite milk, rectal- and vaginal swabs were collected from dairy cows; rectal swabs from heifers and young stock; rectal- and tonsillar swabs from calves; and environmental swabs from the AMS, the floors, cow beds, watering and feeding equipment. A cross sectional study of 37 herds was also conducted, with 1 visit for environmental sampling. Fifteen of the herds were known to be infected with S. agalactiae while the remaining 22 had not had evidence of S. agalactiae mastitis in the preceding 2 years. All samples were cultured for S. agalactiae, and selected isolates (n = 54) from positive herds were genotyped by Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST). Results show that the bovine gastrointestinal tract and the dairy cow environment are reservoirs of S. agalactiae, and point to the existence of 2 transmission cycles; a contagious transmission cycle via the milking machine and an oro-fecal transmission cycle, with drinking water as the most likely vehicle for transmission. Ten sequence types were identified, and results suggest that strains differ in their ability to survive in the environment and transmit within dairy herds. Measures to eradicate S. agalactiae from bovine dairy herds should take into account the extra-mammary reservoirs and the potential for environmental transmission of this supposedly exclusively contagious pathogen.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The Norwegian Research Council (project no 225232/E40) and TINE SA are acknowledged for financial support of the study.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Zadoks, Professor Ruth
Authors: Jørgensen, H.J., Nordstoga, A.B., Sviland, S., Zadoks, R.N., Sølverød, L., Kvitle, B., and Mørk, T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Veterinary Microbiology
ISSN (Online):1873-2542

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