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A longitudinal observational study (18 months) was carried out in two Dutch dairy herds to explore clinical, epidemiological and molecular characteristics of Streptococcus uberis mastitis. Infections (n=84) were detected in 70 quarters of 46 cows. Bacterial isolates were characterized at strain level by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting. Persistent infections were usually attributable to one strain, while recurrent infections could be caused by different strains. When multiple quarters of a cow were infected, infections were mostly caused by one strain. In each herd, multiple strains were identified yet one strain predominated. The majority of all infections were subclinical, and infections attributed to predominant strains were more chronic than infections attributed to other strains. Epidemiological and molecular data suggest infection from environmental sources with a variety of S. uberis strains as well as within-cow and between-cow transmission of a limited number of S. uberis strains, with possible transfer of bacteria via the milking machine.
An ordinary differential equation model was developed to simulate dynamics of Staphylococcus aureus mastitis. Data to estimate model parameters were obtained from an 18-month observational study in three commercial dairy herds. A deterministic simulation model was constructed to estimate values of the basic (R0) and effective (Rt) reproductive number in each herd, and to examine the effect of management on mastitis control. In all herds R0 was below the threshold value 1, indicating control of contagious transmission. Rt was higher than R0 because recovered individuals were more susceptible to infection than individuals without prior infection history. Disease dynamics in two herds were well described by the model. Treatment of subclinical mastitis and prevention of influx of infected individuals contributed to decrease of S. aureus prevalence. For one herd, the model failed to mimic field observations. Explanations for the discrepancy are given in a discussion of current knowledge and model assumptions.
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