Klebsiella spp. are a common cause of mastitis, milk loss, and culling on dairy farms. Control of Klebsiella mastitis is largely based on prevention of exposure of the udder to the pathogen. To identify critical control points for mastitis prevention, potential Klebsiella sources and transmission cycles in the farm environment were investigated, including oro-fecal transmission, transmission via the indoor environment, and transmission via the outdoor environment. A total of 305 samples was collected from 3 dairy farms in upstate New York in the summer of 2007, and included soil, feed crops, feed, water, rumen content, feces, bedding, and manure from alleyways and holding pens. Klebsiella spp. were detected in 100% of rumen samples, 89% of water samples, and approximately 64% of soil, feces, bedding, alleyway, and holding pen samples. Detection of Klebsiella spp. in feed crops and feed was less common. Genotypic identification of species using rpoB sequence data showed that Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most common species in rumen content, feces, and alleyways, whereas Klebsiella oxytoca, Klebsiella variicola, and Raoultella planticola were the most frequent species among isolates from soil and feed crops. Random amplified polymorphic DNA-based strain typing showed heterogeneity of Klebsiella spp. in rumen content and feces, with a median of 4 strains per 5 isolates. Observational and bacteriological data support the existence of an oro-fecal transmission cycle, which is primarily maintained through direct contact with fecal contamination or through ingestion of contaminated drinking water. Fecal shedding of Klebsiella spp. contributes to pathogen loads in the environment, including bedding, alleyways, and holding pens. Hygiene of alleyways and holding pens is an important component of Klebsiella control on dairy farms.
Copyright Â© 2011 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.