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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Aetiology and prevalence of subclinical mastitis in dairy herds in peri-urban areas of Kigali in Rwanda

Ndahetuye, Jean Baptiste; Persson, Ylva; Nyman, Ann-Kristin; Tukei, Michael; Ongol, Martin Patrick; Bage, Renee


The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the prevalence of subclinical mastitis (SCM) and associated risk factors in dairy cows in peri-urban areas of Kigali, Rwanda, and identify causative udder pathogens. A sample of 256 cows from 25 herds was screened with the California Mastitis Test (CMT), and udder quarters with CMT score >= 3 (scale 1-5) were milk sampled for culture and final bacteriological identification with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). All resultant staphylococci species were tested for beta-lactamase production with the clover leaf method. In parallel, herd bulk milk somatic cell count (SCC) of each herd was analysed using a portable device, the DeLaval cell counter. The prevalence of SCM was 43.1% at quarter level and 76.2% at cow level based on CMT test. Multiparous, Holstein cows were 2.50 (C.I = 1.32-4.71) and 10.08 (C.I = 1.54-66.13) times more likely to contract SCM infection than primiparous animals or cows of other breeds, respectively. The median and mean SCC of all herds were 1108 x 10(3) cells/mL and 1179 x 10(3) cells/mL, respectively. The most prevalent pathogens were non-aureus staphylococci (NAS; 40.2%) followed by Staphylococcus aureus (22%) and less prevalent pathogens (6%). Samples with no growth or contamination constituted 30.4% and 1.4% of the diagnoses, respectively. The most prevalent species within NAS were S. epidermidis (38.2%) followed by S. sciuri (19.5%), S. chromogenes (9.8%), and nine less prevalent NAS species (32.5%). Out of 209 staphylococci isolates, 77% exhibited beta-lactamase production. The study shows that there is high prevalence of SCM and high herd bulk milk SCC in herds in Kigali, indicating udder health problems in dairy cows. Additionally, beta-lactamase production among staphylococci species was common. Improved milking hygiene and application of biosecurity measures, or a complete mastitis control plan, is required to lower the prevalence of SCM and minimize the spread of pathogens among dairy cows.


Beta-lactamase production; Risk factors; California Mastitis Test; Staphylococci

Published in

Tropical Animal Health and Production
2019, Volume: 51, number: 7, pages: 2037-2044