Bulk tank milk somatic cell count and sources of raw milk contamination with mastitis pathogens

https://doi.org/10.17221/1878-VETMEDCitation:Rysanek D., Babak V., Zouharova M. (2007): Bulk tank milk somatic cell count and sources of raw milk contamination with mastitis pathogens. Veterinarni Medicina, 52: 223-230.
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The objective of this study was to probe the relationship between prevalence of selected principal mastitis pathogens and somatic cell counts in bulk tank milk samples. The sources of milk contamination were evaluated. The samples were collected from 298 dairy herds (with approximately 32 000 dairy cows). Only 48.3% of the bulk tank milk samples were free of contamination of pathogens of interest. Approximately 38.9% of the milk samples were contaminated with only one, 12.4% with two and 0.3% with three pathogens. The arithmetic mean of logarithmically transformed data of bulk tank milk somatic cell count rise in order: pathogen free, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus uberis, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus (5.381; 5.413; 5.495; 5.518; 5.563, respectively). The arithmetic mean differences between bulk tank milk somatic cell counts in pathogen-free and single-pathogen contaminated samples have revealed a significance for the Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus groups (P < 0.01). Using binary logistic regression, a statistically highly significant relationship (P < 0.001) has been found between the number of contaminations of bulk tank milk samples with mastitis pathogens and bulk tank milk somatic cell counts. The relationship allows the determination of the probability of finding relevant mastitis pathogens in bulk tank milk samples with different levels of bulk tank milk SCC. A 63% probability can be defined at a cell count level of 400 000/ml and 20% at a cell count level of 100 000/ml. Analysis may reveal the potential sources of the bulk tank milk sample contamination, i.e. infected mammary glands or the environment. The presence of high levels of contamination along with a low bulk tank SCC may suggest an environmental source of contamination. The study clarified that a potential source of bulk tank milk contamination by relevant pathogens (the environment or the mammary gland) may be elucidated and the probability of the contamination of bulk tank milk samples with mastitis pathogens predicted by the analysis of relationship between the bulk tank milk somatic cell counts and the number of mastitis pathogen contaminations.
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