Presence of viral and bacterial organisms in milk and their association with somatic cell counts

D. A. Herlekar, C. S. Shashikant, A. A. Gurjar, B. M. Jayarao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


About 20 to 35% of milk samples from cows with intramammary infection or high somatic cell count (SCC) are negative on bacteriological culture analysis. However, little is known about SCC in milk of cows infected with viruses. In the first part of our study, we developed a real-time PCR assay for detection of bovine herpesvirus (BHV) 1, BHV2, and BHV4, and bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) in composite quarter milk samples. A total of 1,479 lactating cows of 1,964 cows in the dairy herd were initially selected because these cows had complete SCC data for at least 3 consecutive test results, of which 139 lactating cows from different lactation age groups were selected randomly and studied extensively. Composite quarter milk samples were collected on 3 alternate days and examined for viruses, SCC, and bacteriological analysis. In total, 10, 28, and 0.7% of the composite quarter milk samples from cows were positive for BHV1, BHV2, and BHV4, respectively; BVDV was not detected in composite quarter milk samples. Bovine herpesvirus was not associated with a particular bacterial species. Our study results indicate that cows positive for BHV in composite quarter milk samples alone are less likely to have elevated SCC compared with cows with bacterial intramammary infection; BHV1, BHV2, and BHV4 are probably not major udder pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6336-6346
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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