Infection occurs via inhalation of infective droplets spread between cattle through coughing, physical contact and via fomites. The incubation period between infection and disease varies from 3 – 8 weeks. Disease is a consequence of septicaemia, where widespread dissemination of the bacteria results in localisation of Mycoplasma spp in renal tissue and, more rarely, placental and fetal tissue. Morbidity of cattle herds approaches 70% in some areas. Mortality may approach 50% in naive herds. Chronic states are observed, resulting in chronic respiratory disease.
In acute cases, signs include fever, lethargy, anorexia, and dyspnoea. Clinical signs of pneumonia are evident and death ensues, if left untreated, after 1 – 3 weeks. Recovery may take up to one month. Subclinical cases are important carriers for spread of Mycoplasma microorganisms.
On cattle which have died, postmortem reveals pleural effusion, pneumonia and fibrous pleural adhesions.
Diagnosis is based on clinical signs, post-mortem findings in terminal cases, and laboratory testing; including complement fixation, latex agglutination, ELISA and PCR. Nowadays, probe-based real-time PCR techniques are among the most advanced tools for a reliable identification and a sensitive detection of CBPP. Final confirmation is determined by Western blotting.
CBPP is a notifiable disease that must be reported to government regulatory authorities.
During outbreaks of CBPP, slaughter and necropsy of infected cattle is recommended. Serological surveillance and abattoir inspections are conducted in high-risk areas.
Eradicated of further outbreaks involves quarantine, blood testing, and slaughter. Containment of infection is attained by immunization with a live, attenuated vaccine (eg, T1/44 strain). A number of vaccine types are available but experiments suggest that there are no differences in protection levels between the vaccines. Additionally, vaccines are effective only if herd coverage within a country is high.
Treatment is recommended only in endemic areas because the organisms may not be eliminated, and carriers may develop. Tylosin (10 mg/kg, IM, bid for 6 injections) and danofloxacin 2.5% (2.5 mg/kg, sid for 3 consecutive days) have been reported to be effective.
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