Prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis in backgrounding and stocker cattle operations

Monique C. Wiggins Department of Infectious Disease, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Amelia R. Woolums Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Susan Sanchez Department of Infectious Disease, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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David J. Hurley Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Dana J. Cole Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Douglas T. Ensley Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Mel E. Pence Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

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Abstract

Objective—To characterize the prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis infection in backgrounding and stocker cattle operations and compare bacteriologic culture with PCR assay for detection of M bovis.

Design—Prospective descriptive study.

Animals—432 calves, 3 to 9 months old, from 9 operations.

Procedures—2 nasal swab specimens were collected from each calf. Swab specimens were evaluated via bacteriologic culture and PCR assay for organisms of the class Mollicutes and M bovis. Culture results were considered negative if no growth occurred within 21 days. Positive results were indicated by characteristic colony formation with PCR assay confirmation. Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted from 1 swab specimen for direct PCR assay for Mollicutes and M bovis.

Results—Of 432 calves, 374 (87%) had positive results for Mollicutes via PCR assay and 63 (15%) via culture. Seven (2%) calves had positive results for M bovis via PCR assay and 10 (2%) via culture. Prevalence of Mollicutes at the farm level ranged from 54% to 100% via PCR assay and from 0% to 59% via culture. Prevalence of M bovis at the farm level ranged from 0% to 4% via PCR assay and from 0% to 6% via culture. Calves that shed M bovis were significantly more likely to have a fever than were calves that did not shed M bovis.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceM bovis was detected at a low level in recently purchased backgrounded and stocker calves in Georgia. Although slightly more infected calves were detected via culture and PCR assay together, PCR assay appeared to accurately identify M bovis at the farm level.

Abstract

Objective—To characterize the prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis infection in backgrounding and stocker cattle operations and compare bacteriologic culture with PCR assay for detection of M bovis.

Design—Prospective descriptive study.

Animals—432 calves, 3 to 9 months old, from 9 operations.

Procedures—2 nasal swab specimens were collected from each calf. Swab specimens were evaluated via bacteriologic culture and PCR assay for organisms of the class Mollicutes and M bovis. Culture results were considered negative if no growth occurred within 21 days. Positive results were indicated by characteristic colony formation with PCR assay confirmation. Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted from 1 swab specimen for direct PCR assay for Mollicutes and M bovis.

Results—Of 432 calves, 374 (87%) had positive results for Mollicutes via PCR assay and 63 (15%) via culture. Seven (2%) calves had positive results for M bovis via PCR assay and 10 (2%) via culture. Prevalence of Mollicutes at the farm level ranged from 54% to 100% via PCR assay and from 0% to 59% via culture. Prevalence of M bovis at the farm level ranged from 0% to 4% via PCR assay and from 0% to 6% via culture. Calves that shed M bovis were significantly more likely to have a fever than were calves that did not shed M bovis.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceM bovis was detected at a low level in recently purchased backgrounded and stocker calves in Georgia. Although slightly more infected calves were detected via culture and PCR assay together, PCR assay appeared to accurately identify M bovis at the farm level.

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