Streptococcus agalactiae mastitis: a review

Can Vet J. 1997 Jul;38(7):429-37.


Streptococcus agalactiae continues to be a major cause of subclinical mastitis in dairy cattle and a source of economic loss for the industry. Veterinarians are often asked to provide information on herd level control and eradication of S. agalactiae mastitis. This review collects and collates relevant publications on the subject. The literature search was conducted in 1993 on the Agricola database. Articles related to S. agalactiae epidemiology, pathogen identification techniques, milk quality consequences, and control, prevention, and therapy were included. Streptococcus agalactiae is an oblique parasite of the bovine mammary gland and is susceptible to treatment with a variety of antibiotics. Despite this fact, where state or provincial census data are available, herd prevalence levels range from 11% (Alberta, 1991) to 47% (Vermont, 1985). Infection with S. agalactiae is associated with elevated somatic cell count and total bacteria count and a decrease in the quantity and quality of milk products produced. Bulk tank milk culture has, using traditional milk culture techniques, had a low sensitivity for identifying S. agalactiae at the herd level. New culture methods, using selective media and large inocula, have substantially improved the sensitivity of bulk tank culture. Efficacy of therapy on individual cows remains high. Protocols for therapy of all infected animals in a herd are generally successful in eradicating the pathogen from the herd, especially if they are followed up with good udder hygiene techniques.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Mastitis, Bovine / epidemiology
  • Mastitis, Bovine / microbiology*
  • Mastitis, Bovine / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcal Infections / veterinary*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae*
  • United States / epidemiology