Bovine mastitis, a challenge to dairy cattle farming in Cuba

Mastitis is one of the oldest diseases that currently affects cattle worldwide. In Cuba, in spite of the existence of a program for the control and eradication of this multifactorial disease, it continues to cause enormous economic losses and has serious implications for animal and human health as well as for the production of dairy products.

Prevalences of subclinical and clinical mastitis are high. The high temperatures and relative humidity values observed throughout the year favor the proliferation and make it difficult to control mastitis-causing microorganisms. In addition to these conditions typical of tropical areas, there are other causes such as limited  access to antibiotics for the treatment of animals with clinical and chronic mastitis, disinfectants and udder sealants, parts and replacements for milking equipment, among other aspects that influence the adequate compliance with hygiene and milking routine. Other aspects to consider are the lack of knowledge of the transmission routes of mastitis-causing microorganisms such as Streptococcus spp. and Staphylococcus spp., the scarce studies of antimicrobial susceptibility and the lack of knowledge of phenomena such as antimicrobial resistance. On the other hand, the genetic improvement programs of Cuban bovine breeds, derived from crosses between Holstein and Cuban Zebu, have been directed to enhance greater tolerance to high tropical temperatures and to maintain adequate milk production levels, but there is still a debt in the selection of more resistant and/or resilient specimens to mastitis in Cuban bovine herds.

Dervel Felipe Díaz Herrera has a degree in biochemistry and a master's degree in biochemistry from the University of Havana, Cuba. He currently works at the National Center for Animal and Plant Health where he has specialized in the diagnosis, isolation and molecular characterization of microorganisms associated with bovine mastitis, as well as in the assessment and establishment of good practice programs for the control and management of mastitis in Cuban bovine herds.

Text and picture: Dervel Felipe Díaz Herrera








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