Resistance to penicillin of Staphylococcus aureus isolates from cows with high somatic cell counts in organic and conventional dairy herds in Denmark

Torben W. Bennedsgaard, Stig M. Thamsborg, Frank Møller Aarestrup, Carsten Enevoldsen, Mette Vaarst, Anna-Bodil Christoffersen

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Abstract

Background: Quarter milk samples from cows with high risk of intramammary infection were examined to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus (SA) and penicillin resistant SA (SAr) in conventional and organic dairy herds and herds converting to organic farming in a combined longitudinal and cross-sectional study. Methods: 20 conventional herds, 18 organic herds that converted before 1995, and 19 herds converting to organic farming in 1999 or 2000 were included in the study. Herds converting to organic farming were sampled three times one year apart; the other herds were sampled once. Risk of infection was estimated based on somatic cell count, milk production, breed, age and lactation stage. Results: The high-risk cows represented about 49% of the cows in the herds. The overall prevalence of SA and SAr among these cows was 29% (95% confidence interval: 24%-34%) and 4% (95% confidence interval: 2%-5%) respectively. The prevalence of penicillin resistance among SA infected cows was 12% (95% confidence interval: 6%-19%) when calculated from the first herd visits. No statistically significant differences were observed in the prevalence of SAr or the proportion of isolates resistant to penicillin between herd groups. Conclusion: The proportion of isolates resistant to penicillin was low compared to studies in other countries except Norway and Sweden. Based on the low prevalence of penicillin resistance of SA, penicillin should still be the first choice of antimicrobial agent for treatment of bovine intramammary infection in Denmark.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Veterinaria Scandinavica
Volume48
ISSN0044-605X
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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