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Research article2011Peer reviewedOpen access

Spatial patterns of recorded mastitis incidence and somatic cell counts in Swedish dairy cows: implications for surveillance

Wolff, Cecilia; Stevenson, Mark; Emanuelson, Ulf; Egenvall, Agneta; Lindberg, Ann


Clinical mastitis (CM) is the most common veterinary treated disease in Swedish dairy cattle. To investigate if the distribution of veterinary registered cases of CM in Sweden follows that of the spatial distribution of cows with high somatic cell counts (SCCs), the spatial distribution of CM odds was estimated from available records and compared with udder health measures based on measurements of SCC derived from official milk recording. The study revealed areas with significantly lower odds for CM but with a high proportion of cows with a poor udder health score, suggesting an under-reporting of CM. We also found areas of significantly higher odds for CM despite a low proportion of cows with a poor udder health score, suggestive of over-treatment of mastitis. The results should enable targeted studies of reasons for discrepancies, e.g. farmers' and veterinarians' attitudes to mastitis treatment and disease recording in areas with a deficit or excess of registered CM cases. High quality disease records for dairy cattle are of interest not only for the dairy management but also for disease surveillance, monitoring of use of antibiotics and food safety purposes.


bovine mastitis; surveillance; somatic cell count; spatial odds; Sweden

Published in

Geospatial Health
2011, Volume: 6, number: 1, pages: 117-123