Submitted to: Feedinfo News Service
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2004
Publication Date: April 1, 2004
Citation: Van Kessel, J.S. 2004. Factors affecting the dairy farm ecology of bacterial pathogens. Feedinfo News Service. Technical Abstract: Microbial pathogens have long been a concern in dairy production due to their potential impact on animal health, milk production, and economics. In recent years, increasing concerns over zoonotic pathogens in the dairy environment and in milk and meat products have added a new dimension to the challenge of biosecurity and biocontainment. Local programs have been developed to help dairy producers implement best management practices (BMPs) that minimize the incidence of animal disease, improve profitability, assure product safety, and address issues of biosecurity. To be able to scientifically support regional management practices there is a need for longitudinal research on commercial dairy farms throughout the United States. Scientists at the USDA's Environmental Microbial Safety Laboratory, are collaborating with researchers at Cornell University, The Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pennsylvania (all members of the Regional Dairy Quality Management Alliance) to investigate the sites on operating dairy farms that act as reservoirs for pathogenic microorganisms that affect animal health and that decrease product quality because of their zoonotic nature. A two-farm pilot project was initiated in January, 2004. Serum, feces, bulk tank milk, and environmental samples will be taken multiple times per year on each farm. In addition, tissue samples will be obtained from carcasses of culled animals. Samples will be analyzed for the presence of Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, the causative agent of Johne's Disease in cattle, and for Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes, human food-borne pathogens of concern in dairy products. This research will be the first attempt at a comprehensive analysis of both Johne's Disease and food-borne pathogens on working dairy farms. It will allow us to determine a baseline for these organisms on two farms and set the stage for investigation of the effect of interventions, in the form of BMPs, on animal health and product quality.