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FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri

Norwegian Airways Improved sustainability and welfare in the cattle industry by reduction of respiratory disease and use of antimicrobials

Alternative title: Norwegian Airways Økt bærekraft og dyrevelferd i storfenæringen ved reduksjon av luftveissykdom og bruk av antimikrobielle midler

Awarded: NOK 6.4 mill.

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is a major problem worldwide. BRD is usually caused by virus and/or bacteria and is the main cause for use of antibiotics in calves. It is not fully understood how contagious the bacterial infections are and what impact the bacterial genes have on disease outcome. Recommendations for medical treatment of BRD in Norway are narrow-spectrum penicillin. Nevertheless, broad-spectrum antibiotics are the most commonly used treatment of infections in calves. Knowledge of causative pathogens and their antimicrobial (AM) resistance pattern is the fundament for correct and prudent use of AMs. Norwegian Airways investigates the occurrence of BRD bacteria from Norwegian beef and dairy herds and characterise the AM resistance pattern and pathogenicity of the bacteria. Different methods of sampling are compared to identify a method where sample collection in the field is both easy and provides good quality samples for diagnostic purposes. BDR transmission dynamics will be studied by use of a mathematical transmission model. The occurrence of Mycoplasma bovis is also investigated. The bacterium is prevalent globally. M. bovis is not susceptible to penicillin, and an increasing AM resistance is registered. There are few investigations preformed concerning the occurrence of M. bovis in Norway but it is so far never detected. The project started in September 2020 and will contribute to reduction, prevention and correct medical treatment of BRD in calves by gaining knowledge of the occurrence and AM resistance pattern of BRD bacteria. Increased knowledge of disease development and transmission dynamics will also contribute to this. Better knowledge about optimal sampling from the respiratory tract will facilitate the use of laboratory diagnostics and result in reduced and refined use of AMs. The project will also provide increased vigilance concerning M. bovis, which is fundamental to manage adequately the risk for introduction.

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the main disease problem in meat production and in calves in the dairy production worldwide, with negative impact on economy, welfare and increased GHG emission. Internationally, vast amounts of antimicrobials (AMs) are used to prevent and treat BRD, and multiresistant BRD bacteria is emerging rapidly. Norway is in a unique position where the most common BRD pathogens still seems sensitive to benzylpenicillin, and Mycoplasma bovis has so far not been detected. AMs, including broad specter, are widely used to treat BRD also in Norway. Knowledge of causative pathogens and their AM resistance pattern is the fundament for correct and prudent use of AMs, but laboratory diagnostics are not used to support AM protocol choices. M. bovis causes serious health problems including BRD, is resistant to penicillin and has emerged to our neighboring countries. The aim of the project is to study BRD bacteria from upper and lower respiratory tract of healthy and BRD animals in dairy and specialized beef herds. Occurrence of bacteria, included M. bovis, will be investigated. Detected bacteria will be characterized with qualitative and quantitative diagnostic methods, including full genome sequencing. AM resistance and virulence will be compared to sample type, disease status and herd information. BDR transmission dynamics will be studied in a longitudinal study by use of an infection transmission model, and through phylogenetic analysis of the sequenced bacteria. The project will provide knowledge of diagnostic possibilities, occurrence and increased vigilance concerning M. bovis. Scientific documentation of occurrence and characteristics of BRD bacteria and increased use of laboratory diagnostics will result in reduced and refined use of AMs. Knowledge of transmission dynamics can be used to reduce occurrence of BRD. This would increase the sustainability in cattle industry, for the benefit of the animals, the producers and the consumers.

Funding scheme:

FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri