Importance of subclinical mastitis due to Streptococcus agalactiae in camels
Maichomo MW*, Kibugu J, Kurgat R, Malonza VM, KARI-TRC, PO Box 362-00902, Kikuyu
*email@example.com Work done in November 2010
Camels are the most important dairy animals in Kenya ASALs producing approximately 220 million litres of milk annually which is greatly reduced by mastitis. There is a positive correlation between California mastitis test (CMT) and presence of pathogens. Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus - GBS) is an important human pathogen, particularly of newborns with zoonotic transmission but cannot be easily treated using antibiotics. In ASALs, milk is consumed fresh or sour posing a health hazard to consumers. This study quantified economic losses associated with camel mastitis and assessed the risk of GBS to consumers. Four hundred and twenty (420) pair wise comparisons were obtained from randomly selected camels in Marsabit and Isiolo counties. Hygienically collected milk was subjected to CMT and samples taken for bacterial isolation. Todd Hewitt and Edwards agar were used to isolate S. agalactiae. Differences in milk production within fore and hind quarters were attributed to mastitis all other factors held constant. Data was analysed using analysis of variance. 83% of camels had subclinical mastitis and milk loss in mastitic quarters was 0.114L and 0.172L equivalent to Ksh6.84 and 10.32 in fore and hind quarters respectively per camel per day. Regardless of quarter, loss in milk production was significant (F = 30.51, p<0.001). 64% of bacterial isolates were characterized as GBS based on lancefield grouping. This study indicates the economic importance of camel mastitis and that the threat of zoonotic transmission of S. agalactiae through milk is real. Due to poor hygiene in ASALs and ineffectiveness of common antibiotics, a more sustainable approach to control using vaccine is being explored.
Key words: Mastitis, camels, zoonosis, Streptococcus agalactiae