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A survey on the incidence of Prototheca mastitis in dairy herds in Lublin province, Poland

Jagielski, Tomasz, Roeske, Katarzyna, Bakuła, Zofia, Piech, Tomasz, Wlazło, Łukasz, Bochniarz, Mariola, Woch, Piotr, Krukowski, Henryk
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.1 pp. 619-628
California mastitis test, Prototheca zopfii, algae, clinical examination, dairy cows, dairy farming, dairy herds, emerging diseases, eosinophils, epidemiology, feces, genotype, lymphocytes, mastitis, microbial growth, microorganisms, milk, neutrophils, pathogens, rectum, somatic cell count, surveys, Poland
Prototheca mastitis has recently become an emerging disease; although its incidence is increasing steadily, its epidemiology remains largely understudied. The aim of this work was to investigate the prevalence of Prototheca spp. in dairy cows and their environment in Lublin province, covering most of southeastern Poland. Between December 2015 and July 2016, a total of 172 milking cows from 10 dairy farms were inspected for mastitis using clinical examination and the California Mastitis Test (CMT). Quarter milk samples (QMS, n = 179) and body site swabs (n = 151) from CMT-positive cows were collected for microbiological culture. In addition, we evaluated QMS and body site swabs from 23 healthy cows, along with 91 environmental samples. Of 100 CMT-positive cows, 71 had at least one QMS positive for microbial growth. In 8 (11.3%) of these cows, originating from 7 dairy farms, Prototheca spp. were cultured. The average somatic cell count of the Prototheca-containing milk was 4.02 × 106 cells/mL compared with 0.13 × 106 cells/mL of the Prototheca-free milk (collected from control animals). No significant differences were observed between mastitis and control cows with respect to counts of total white blood cells, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils. Half of the cows with Prototheca spp. in their milk did not yield the algae from other anatomical sites. Eight cows were negative for the presence of Prototheca spp. in their milk but positive for the algae in swabs from anatomical sites. Among the environmental sources that were positive for Prototheca growth were watering troughs, manure, feed, and mud. All (45) Prototheca isolates recovered in this study were subjected to species- and genotype-level molecular identification. All QMS and most of the animal swabs (90%) yielded Prototheca zopfii genotype (gen.) 2. Of the animal samples, P. zopfii gen. 1 and Prototheca blaschkeae were isolated only from feces and rectum. Environmental samples grew either P. zopfii gen. 2 (67%) or P. zopfii gen. 1 (33%). This study demonstrates that P. zopfii gen. 2 is the third most common pathogen of mastitis in cattle in southeast Poland, with an overall incidence of 4.6%. Finding Prototheca spp., including P. zopfii gen. 1 and 2 and P. blaschkeae, in stool and rectal swabs from healthy animals may suggest their role as nonpathogenic microflora of bovine gut.