Viral infections and bovine mastitis: a review

G.J. Wellenberg, W.H.M. van der Poel, J.T. van Oirschot

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    This review deals with the role of viruses in the aetiology of bovine mastitis. Bovine herpesvirus 1, bovine herpesvirus 4, foot-and-mouth disease virus, and parainfluenza 3 virus have been isolated from milk from cows with clinical mastitis. Intramammary inoculations of bovine herpesvirus 1 or parainfluenza 3 virus-induced clinical mastitis, while an intramammary inoculation of foot-and-mouth disease virus resulted in necrosis of the mammary gland. Subclinical mastitis has been induced after a simultaneous intramammary and intranasal inoculation of lactating cows with bovine herpesvirus 4. Bovine leukaemia virus has been detected in mammary tissue of cows with subclinical mastitis, but whether this virus was able to induce bovine mastitis has not been reported.Bovine herpesvirus 2, vaccinia, cowpox, pseudocowpox, vesicular stomatitis, foot-and-mouth disease viruses, and bovine papillomaviruses can play an indirect role in the aetiology of bovine mastitis. These viruses can induce teat lesions, for instance in the ductus papillaris, which result in a reduction of the natural defence mechanisms of the udder and indirectly in bovine mastitis due to bacterial pathogens. Bovine herpesvirus 1, bovine viral diarrhoea virus, bovine immunodeficiency virus, and bovine leukaemia virus infections may play an indirect role in bovine mastitis, due to their immunosuppressive properties. But, more research is warranted to underline their indirect role in bovine mastitis.We conclude that viral infections can play a direct or indirect role in the aetiology of bovine mastitis; therefore, their importance in the aetiology of bovine mastitis and their economical impact needs further attention
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-45
    JournalVeterinary Microbiology
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Cattle-viruses
    • Mastitis
    • Milk
    • Somatic cell count
    • Viruses


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