20 October 1995

Vaccination is winning fight

VACCINATION against an environmental mastitis-causing bacteria has proved successful in trials by Dr Julie Finch at the Institute of Animal Health, Compton, Berkshire.

"Vaccination with live Strep uberis bacteria reduced clinical mastitis incidence, somatic cell count levels and the number of bacteria found in milk following experimental infection," she said.

"Non-vaccinated cows infected with Strep uberis suffered a milk drop of over 50% but for the cows treated with live vaccine yield was reduced in only one cow which showed clinical infection."

Strep uberis was one of the group of bacteria, including E coli and S aureus, which were now the commonest causes of clinical mastitis since hygienic milking practices were introduced.

Vaccination with live bacteria caused high somatic cell counts as the cow fought bacterial infection, she warned. Those high counts meant the vaccine might not be beneficial to milk producers.

But, in the trials, Dr Finch found that although somatic cell counts did rise in cows given the live vaccine, average cell counts in the treated cows were lower than the control group.

Dr Julie Finch:"Vaccination against Strep uberis bacteria can cut mastitis incidence."