Associations between pathogen-specific clinical mastitis and somatic cell count patterns

Y. de Haas, R.F. Veerkamp, H.W. Barkema, Y.T. Gröhn, Y.H. Schukken

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    Associations were estimated between pathogen-specific cases of clinical mastitis (CM) and somatic cell count (SCC) patterns based on deviations from the typical curve for SCC during lactation and compared with associations between pathogen-specific CM and lactation average SCC. Data from 274 Dutch herds recording CM over an 18-mo period were used. Pathogens found were Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Streptococcus uberis, streptococci other than Strep. dysgalactiae and Strep. uberis, and culture-negative samples. The dataset contained 245,595 test-day records on SCC, recorded in 24,012 lactations of 19,733 cows of different parities. Pattern definitions were based on three or five consecutive test-day records. The patterns differentiated between a short or longer period of increased SCC and also between lactations with and without recovery. Logistic regression was applied to identify associations between presence of patterns and occurrence of pathogens. Occurrence of overall CM in a lactation is equally or even more accurately predicted by the presence of SCC in that lactation, than by a lactation average SCC of more than 200,000 cells/mL. Patterns can also distinguish between chances of risk for specific mastitis-causing pathogens. Clinical E. coli mastitis was significantly associated with the presence of a short peak in SCC, whereas Staph. aureus was associated with long increased SCC. Streptococcus dysgalactiae was not strongly associated with any of the defined patterns of peaks in SCC, and no single unambiguous pattern was found for Strep. uberis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-105
    JournalJournal of Dairy Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • escherichia-coli mastitis
    • blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes
    • intramammary infections
    • staphylococcus-aureus
    • bovine mastitis
    • dairy herds
    • cows
    • lactation
    • cattle
    • milk

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