Diagnosing intramammary infections: Evaluation of definitions based on a single milk sample

I.R. Dohoo, J. Smith, S. Andersen, D.F. Kelton, S. Godden, Ruth Zadoks, C. Mastitis Res Workers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Criteria for diagnosing intramammary infections (IMI) have been debated for many years. Factors that may be considered in making a diagnosis include the organism of interest being found on culture, the number of colonies isolated, whether or not the organism was recovered in pure or mixed culture, and whether or not concurrent evidence of inflammation existed (often measured by somatic cell count). However, research using these criteria has been hampered by the lack of a "gold standard" test (i.e., a perfect test against which the criteria can be evaluated) and the need for very large data sets of culture results to have sufficient numbers of quarters with infections with a variety of organisms. This manuscript used 2 large data sets of culture results to evaluate several definitions (sets of criteria) for classifying a quarter as having, or not having an IMI by comparing the results from a single culture to a gold standard diagnosis based on a set of 3 milk samples. The first consisted of 38,376 milk samples from which 25,886 triplicate sets of milk samples taken 1 wk apart were extracted. The second consisted of 784 quarters that were classified as infected or not based on a set of 3 milk samples collected at 2-d intervals. From these quarters, a total of 3,136 additional samples were evaluated. A total of 12 definitions (named A to L) based on combinations of the number of colonies isolated, whether or not the organism was recovered in pure or mixed culture, and the somatic cell count were evaluated for each organism (or group of organisms) with sufficient data. The sensitivity (ability of a definition to detect IMI) and the specificity (Sp; ability of a definition to correctly classify noninfected quarters) were both computed. For all species, except Staphylococcus aureus, the sensitivity of all definitions was
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)250-261
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Bacteria/isolation & purification
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count/veterinary
  • Dairying/methods
  • Female
  • Mastitis, Bovine/diagnosis
  • Milk/cytology
  • Milk/microbiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Staphylococcus aureus/isolation & purification
  • Terminology as Topic

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