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Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network

Our Research  I  Our Results 

To Be or not to Be… an Infection?

Signe Andersen, a Ph.D. student from University of Prince Edward Island, has undertaken a project aiming to come up with a definition of an udder infection. For a given bacteria, she would like to be able to determine whether or not there is an infection based on a SINGLE milk sample. If she could come up with such a definition that would be both scientific and validated, it would be a great step forward for scientists conducting research on mastitis.
To that end, Signe used different cards indicating the level of somatic cell count, the bacterium that was isolated and the number of colonies that were counted on a culture plate. Based on this information, experts were asked to decide if there was indeed an infection or not. From the analysis of the answers recorded over the course of several sessions and at different times, she finally established two criteria that will serve to narrow down a new definition of what constitutes the infection of a quarter.
This definition, which she qualifies as “pseudo - gold standard”, is currently tested using milk samples collected in 2007 as part of the National Cohort of Dairy Farms. She will also compare the value of a sample in duplicate and triplicate to that of a single sample.
Although the work is conducted far for the farm, this research could well be very useful to diagnostic laboratories and the scientific community by providing a mastitis standard so that researchers can compare apples with apples!

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