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Mycoplasma species are highly contagious pathogens, and intramammary Mycoplasma infection is a serious issue for the dairy industry (Nicholas and Ayling 2003). Clinical Mycoplasma mastitis presents with clinical signs including fever, swelling and udder induration (Bushnell 1984). Milk from an infected quarter usually appears abnormal, with flaky sediments in watery or serous fluid. Because the cure rate of clinical Mycoplasma mastitis is very low due to a poor response to antimicrobial treatment, cows infected with Mycoplasma species must be culled to prevent outbreaks of Mycoplasma mastitis in dairy herds (Jasper 1982, Kirk and Lauerman 1994, Nicholas and Ayling 2003). We previously reported a 1.29 per cent prevalence of Mycoplasma species in bulk tank milk from 1241 Japanese dairy farms (Higuchi and others 2011a, b). However, little is known about the relationship between Mycoplasma species and somatic cell count (SCC) in milk. Here, we identified the Mycoplasma species isolated from quarter milk samples and their relationship with SCC, and clinical signs of the udder.
A total of 1310 commercial dairy farms in Hokkaido, Kyushu and Honshu (main island) in Japan were randomly selected for bulk tank milk screening. Each bulk tank contained two days of milk …