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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Herd-level prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis in Swedish dairy herds determined by antibody ELISA and PCR on bulk tank milk and herd characteristics associated with seropositivity

Hurri, Emma; Ohlson, Anna; Lundberg, Å.; Aspan, Anna; Pedersen, K.; Tråven, Madeleine


Mycoplasma bovis is an important pathogen causing pneumonia, mastitis, and arthritis in cattle, leading to reduced animal welfare and economic losses worldwide. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated the prevalence of M. bovis in bulk tank milk (BTM) and herd characteristics associated with a positive antibody test result in Swedish dairy herds. Bulk tank milk samples from all Swedish dairy herds (n = 3,144) were collected and analyzed with ID Screen antibody ELISA and PCR. Information on herd characteristics was collected from the national Dairy Herd Improvement database. To identify herd characteristics associated with the presence of antibodies in BTM, logistic regression was used in 4 different models. The apparent herd-level prevalence of M. bovis infection based on antibodies in BTM was 4.8%, with large regional differences ranging from 0 to 20%. None of the BTM samples was positive by PCR. All the antibody-positive herds were situated in the south of Sweden. The logistic regression model showed that larger herds had higher odds of detectable antibodies in BTM (herd size >120 cows, odds ratio = 8.8). An association was also found between antibodies in BTM and both a higher late calf mortality (2–6 mo) and a higher young stock mortality (6–15 mo). This study showed a clear regional difference in the apparent prevalence of M. bovis infection based on antibodies. The relatively low prevalence of M. bovis in Sweden is a strong motivator for the cattle industry to take steps to prevent further spread of the infection. It is essential that the M. bovis status of free herds be known, and the regional differences shown in this study suggest that testing is highly recommended when live cattle from high-prevalence areas are being introduced into herds. We do not recommend using PCR on BTM to detect infected herds, owing to the low detection frequency in this study.


bulk tank milk; ELISA; herd size; Mycoplasma bovis

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2022, volume: 105, number: 9, pages: 7764-7772

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
National Veterinary Institute (SVA)
Ohlson, Anna
Växa Sverige
Lundberg, Å.
Växa Sverige
Aspan, Anna
National Veterinary Institute (SVA)
Pedersen, K.
National Veterinary Institute (SVA)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

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