Within-herd transmission of Mycoplasma bovis infections after initial detection in dairy cows

Marit M. Biesheuvel, Caitlin Ward, Patty Penterman, Erik van Engelen, Gerdien van Schaik, Rob Deardon, Herman W. Barkema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mycoplasma bovis outbreaks in cattle, including pathogen spread between age groups, are not well understood. Our objective was to estimate within-herd transmission across adult dairy cows, youngstock, and calves. Results from 3 tests (PCR, ELISA, and culture) per cow and 2 tests (PCR and ELISA) per youngstock and calf were used in an age-stratified susceptible-infected-removed/recovered (SIR) model to estimate within-herd transmission parameters, pathways, and potential effects of farm management practices. A cohort of adult cows, youngstock, and calves on 20 Dutch dairy farms with a clinical outbreak of M. bovis in adult cows were sampled, with collection of blood, conjunctival fluid, and milk from cows, and blood and conjunctival fluid from calves and youngstock, 5 times over a time span of 12 wk. Any individual with at least one positive laboratory test was considered M. bovis-positive. Transmission dynamics were modeled using an age-stratified SIR model featuring 3 age strata. Associations with farm management practices were explored using Fisher's exact tests and Poisson regression. Estimated transmission parameters were highly variable among herds and cattle age groups. Notably, transmission from cows to cows, youngstock, or to calves was associated with R-values ranging from 1.0 to 80 secondarily infected cows per herd, 1.2 to 38 secondarily infected youngstock per herd, and 0.1 to 91 secondarily infected calves per herd, respectively. In case of transmission from youngstock to youngstock, calves or to cows, R-values were 0.7 to 96 secondarily infected youngstock per herd, 1.1 to 76 secondarily infected calves per herd, and 0.1 to 107 secondarily infected cows per herd. For transmission from calves to calves, youngstock or to cows, R-values were 0.5 to 60 secondarily infected calves per herd, 1.1 to 41 secondarily infected youngstock per herd, and 0.1 to 47 secondarily infected cows per herd. Among on-farm transmission pathways, cow-to-youngstock, cow-to-calf, and cow-to-cow were identified as most significant contributors, with calf-to-calf and calf-to-youngstock also having noteworthy roles. Youngstock-to-youngstock was also implicated, albeit to a lesser extent. Whereas the primary focus was a clinical outbreak of M. bovis among adult dairy cows, it was evident that transmission extended to calves and youngstock, contributing to overall spread. Factors influencing transmission and specific transmission pathways were associated with internal biosecurity (separate caretakers for various age groups, number of people involved), external biosecurity (contractors, external employees), as well as indirect transmission routes (number of feed and water stations).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-529
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume107
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Dairy Science Association

Keywords

  • dairy farms
  • infection dynamics
  • Mycoplasma bovis
  • susceptible-infected-removed/recovered models
  • transmission

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Within-herd transmission of Mycoplasma bovis infections after initial detection in dairy cows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this