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Fecal shedding of Klebsiella pneumoniae contributes to environmental contamination.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is a common cause of clinical mastitis on well-managed farm and, in the past, bedding derived from wood products has been considered to be the main source. Proposed solutions have included renovating stalls and replacing wood-product bedding with sand. In a cross-sectional study, fecal samples were collected from cows on nine dairies. Of the 100 cows tested, 84% were positive for Klebsiella spp. in feces. In a related longitudinal study on a 1200 cow dairy, bedding samples were collected twice monthly for the back 1/3 of stalls and from multiple points in the unused sand pile. Fifty cows were also fecal sampled once monthly. All samples from the unused sand pile were negative for Klebsiella spp.; 78% of stall sand samples were positive (median count 104.5). Prevalence of Klebsiella pneumoniae in the 495 fecal samples, was 81.4%. Bedding replacement with inorganic materials does not guarantee relief from K. pneumoniae mastitis. Because of the potential for fecal contamination of the environment, hygiene and stall maintenance is paramount.


Munoz, MA et al. 2006. Fecal shedding of Klebsiella pneumoniae by dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 89:3425-3430.