Evaluation of the surveillance program of Streptococcus agalactiae in Danish dairy herds

H. J. Andersen, L. H. Pedersen, Frank Møller Aarestrup, Mariann Chriél

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the Danish surveillance program of Streptococcus agalactiae in dairy herds with respect to 1) fluctuation over time of the presence of S. agalactiae in bulk tank milk, 2) sensitivity and specificity of the bacteriological method used, and 3) contamination of bulk tank milk samples with milk from other herds. From June to September 1996, bulk tank milk was sampled from 100 Danish dairy herds seven times, with intervals of 2 wk. The samples were examined for the presence of S. agalactiae by four different methods: 1) by the method approved for the program, 2) after ultrasonic treatment of the milk before examination, 3) after freezing down the milk before examination, and 4) after selective preparation of the milk. Selected strains of S. agalactiae were examined by restriction fragment length polymorphism of the gene encoding rRNA to discriminate between the isolates. Streptococcus agalactiae was found in eight of 96 herds in which S. agalactiae had never previously been found during the surveillance program. Streptococcus agalactiae was not found in all seven sampling rounds in any of the eight herds. Comparing the approved method with supplemental findings by the other methods, the estimated sensitivity was (95% confidence limits): 0.786 (0.628; 0.892) and the estimated specificity ( 95% confidence limits): 0.995 (0.985; 0.999). Using all four methods on the same sample could increase the sensitivity, but by comparing the methods individually, there was no significant difference between any of them (P > 0.10). In milk samples from three herds, the ribotype of S. agalactiae was the same as in milk from herds sampled just before; therefore, it could not be ruled out that cross-contamination could occur. Taking into account that S. agalactiae in bulk tank milk reflects the presence of S. agalactiae in at least one udder quarter, this investigation gives further reason to assume that S. agalactiae can be seen sporadically in several herds. A surveillance program based on annual bulk tank milk sample examinations will only detect a limited number of S. agalactiae infected herds. If the overall aim is to identify herds where the infection is established, annual bulk tank milk sample examinations combined with the information of number of colonies of S. agalactiae in the sample will be sufficient.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal Of Dairy Science
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1233-1239
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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