Subclinical mastitis in dairy cows in south-Asian countries : a review of risk factors and etiology to prioritize control measures

Bari, Md Saiful; Rahman, Md Mizanur; Persson, Ylva; Derks, Marjolein; Sayeed, Md Abu; Hossain, Delower; Singha, Shuvo; Hoque, Md Ahasanul; Sivaraman, Subramnian; Fernando, Palika; Ahmad, Ijaz; Samad, Abdul; Koop, Gerrit


Mastitis is a major production disease, causing significant economic losses for dairy farmers in South-Asian countries, as well as other parts of the world. Udder health control programs (UHCP) have been established in developed countries as an effective strategy for mastitis control but have not yet been introduced in South-Asian low-income countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. To launch UHCP successfully in dairy herds in South-Asia, it is important to know the current prevalence and risk factors for subclinical mastitis (SCM). Therefore, a narrative literature review was conducted with the aim to describe the dairy sector, the prevalence of SCM and its causal agents, risk factors for mastitis occurrence and the control measures suggested by different studies conducted in the selected countries. The literature revealed that India had the highest cattle population. Milking was mainly done by hand in all of the studied countries. Stall feeding was done in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and limited access to grazing was also reported in some farms in India and Pakistan. There was substantial variation in the prevalence of SCM between studies in all 4 countries, ranging from about 20% to about 80%, but the average prevalence across all studies was high (50%). The most common causal agents for SCM were non-aureus staphylococci (NAS), Staphylococcus (S.) aureus, Streptococcus spp. and Escherichia (E.) coli. The management related risk factors reported for SCM were stall feeding of cows, a higher stock density, cracked floors, open drains, the presence of flies, poor drainage, peri-parturient diseases, infrequent dung removal and earth floors. The control measures suggested in these studies were to improve the hygiene and sanitation of cows, to improve the cleanliness of farms and milker’s hands, to apply dry cow therapy, supplementing micronutrients and routine screening for SCM combined with taking intervention measures like isolation of cows or milking infected cows last, and proper treatment. Also, full hand milking, complete milking, machine milking, and providing feed and water immediately after milking have been recommended. Finally, we show that current literature often studies the same set of (non-manageable) risk factors, so more research is needed to obtain a comprehensive picture of the determinants of SCM. Randomized controlled trials are needed to truly quantify the effect of intervention under field conditions. Altogether, our work gives an overview of the udder health situation in South-Asia and provides the basis for the design of UHCP in this region.