Mastitis pathogens in Bavaria, Southern Germany: apparent prevalence and herd-level risk factors


  • Lucie Groh Tiergesundheitsdienst Bayern e.V.
  • Rolf Mansfeld Klinik für Wiederkäuer mit Ambulanz und Bestandsbetreuung, Tierärztliche Fakultät der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 85764 Oberschleißheim, Germany
  • Christian Baumgartner Milchprüfring Bayern e.V., 85283 Wolnzach, Germany
  • Ulrike S. Sorge Tiergesundheitsdienst Bayern e.V., 85586 Poing, Germany


mastitis pathogens, prevalence, cross-sectional study, management practices


The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence of mastitis pathogens in Bavaria and to identify management practices as possible risk factors for the presence and within-herd prevalence of the four most common pathogens .

For this purpose, aseptic quarter milk samples of 6,188 dairy cows on 152 Bavarian dairy farms were collected and a California mastitis test was performed. Udder and leg hygiene scores as well as teat end condition scores were recorded at cow-level. Teat end hygiene score after udder preparation was evaluated for about ten cows per herd. Herd information and information on management practices were obtained using a standardized checklist. To determine herd-level risk factors, Fisher’s exact test for categorical, and Student’s t-test or Mann-Whitney-U test for continuous data were performed.

The most frequently detected pathogens at quarter-level were coagulase-negative staphylococci (4.4%), Staphylococcus aureus (2.9%), Streptococcus dysgalactiae (0.9%), and Streptococcus uberis (0.9%).  Each of these four pathogens was detected in more than half of the herds (90%, 70%, 61%, and 54%, respectively). Free stall housing and larger herds were associated with detection of coagulase-negative staphylococci and Streptococcus uberis. The usage of post-milking teat disinfection was associated with a lower within-herd prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus. The use of internal teat sealants and blanket dry cow therapy reduced the odds for detection of Streptococcus dysgalactiae at the herd-level. However, the latter practices were implemented by only a minority of herds. The study shows for the first time the apparent prevalence of mastitis pathogens in Bavaria using an unbiased sample. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were found to be the most frequently isolated pathogens, further studies on the etiology and reduction of these pathogens should be considered.

Author Biography

Lucie Groh, Tiergesundheitsdienst Bayern e.V.

Second affiliation:

Klinik für Wiederkäuer mit Ambulanz und Bestandsbetreuung, Tierärztliche Fakultät der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München,
85764 Oberschleißheim, Germany


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