From 1987 to 1991, almost 36000 quarter samples of mammary secretion representing 1790 lactations of 510 dairy cows from a research herd were collected for bacteriological examination. The percentage of cows infected with Streptococcus uberis ranged from 12 to 16% of cows/year. S. uberis was isolated from 14.2% of lactations over the 5-year period. The prevalence of S. uberis intramammary infection (IMI) was significantly higher in cows with ≥4 lactations than in cows with 3 or fewer lactations. Regardless of lactation number, the prevalence of S. uberis was highest before parturition, during early lactation and near drying off. The prevalence of S. uberis infected quarters ranged from 1.3 to 2.3% of quarters/year; the prevalence rate for the 5-year period was 2% of quarters. The quarter prevalence of S. uberis was lowest in cows with ≤3 lactations, increased significantly with lactation number and was highest in cows with ≥6 lactations. The percentage of quarters infected with S. uberis varied significantly by year. The majority (95%) of S. uberis IMI were subclinical. The ratio of subclinical IMI to clinical IMI was lowest during early lactation, and increased with days in milk, and with lactation age except for cows in their 5th and 6th lactations. Results of this epidemiological investigation suggest that opportunities exist where suitable control measures could be applied to reduce the impact of S. uberis infections in the dairy herd.
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