Mastitis vaccine one step closer

Scientists are one step closer to producing a bovine mastitis vaccine, according to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Researchers from the University of Nottingham the University of Oxford and the Institute for Animal Health have discovered key components of mastitis-causing bacterium Streptococcus uberis, which could lead to the development of a vaccine.

James Leigh from Nottingham University says: “By identifying which components of the bacteria play a role in causing the disease, we can see exactly where to hit it with a vaccine to stop it ever becoming a problem.”

Endemic diseases of farm animals are extremely costly and significant welfare issues, says Douglas Kell, BBSRC chief executive.

“The development is a welcome step towards preventing the suffering and losses associated with bovine mastitis.”

Mastitis currently costs farmers nearly £200m a year and requires the large scale use of antibiotics to treat disease. However, apart from good husbandry, there is little that can be done to prevent the disease at present.