Knowledge gaps and research priorities in Staphylococcus aureus mastitis control

P Rainard, G Foucras, J R Fitzgerald, J L Watts, G Koop, J R Middleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed knowledge gaps and suggested research priorities in the field of Staphylococcus aureus mastitis. Staphylococcus aureus infecting the mammary gland remains a major problem to the dairy industry worldwide because of its pathogenicity, contagiousness, persistence in the cow environment, colonization of skin or mucosal epithelia, and the poor curing efficacy of treatments. Staphylococcus aureus also constitutes a threat to public health due to food safety and antibiotic usage issues and the potential for bidirectional transmission of strains between humans and dairy animals (cows and small ruminants). Gaps have been identified in (i) understanding the molecular basis for pathogenesis of S. aureus mastitis, (ii) identifying staphylococcal antigens inducing protection and (iii) determining the cell-mediated immune responses to infection and vaccination. The recommended priorities for research are (i) improved diagnostic methods for early detection of infection and intervention through treatment or management, (ii) development of experimental models to investigate the strategies used by S. aureus to survive within the mammary gland and resist treatment with anti-microbials, (iii) investigation of the basis for cow-to-cow variation in response to S. aureus mastitis, (iv) identification of the immune responses (adaptive and innate) induced by infection or vaccination and (v) antibacterial discovery programmes to develop new, more effective, narrow spectrum antibacterial agents for the treatment of S. aureus mastitis. With the availability and ongoing improvement of molecular research tools, these objectives may not be out of reach in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-165
JournalTransboundary and Emerging Diseases
Issue numberSp Iss S1
Early online date6 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • diagnostics
  • epidemiology
  • gap analysis
  • mastitis
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • therapy
  • vaccine


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