European Union udder health experts gather in Budapest

The European Mastitis Panel, which is an initiative organized by Dr. Jantijn Swinkels, MSD Animal Health, involves a group of selected udder health experts that gather every year in a different European Union country in order to learn from each other. This year, the 11th European Mastitis Panel meeting took place in Budapest, Hungary, on May 17-18, where 16 udder health and milk quality experts from 11 different European Union countries discussed results of their first research project that is aimed at understanding the molecular basis of the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus mastitis.

The European Mastitis Panel participants began their research project, led by Dr. Gerrit Koop from Utrecht University, last year by collecting strains of Staphylococcus aureus, a gram-positive organism, from 10 EU countries. The preliminary data presented at the meeting showed certain strains of S. aureus, which are able to produce more toxins, cause more severe cases of mastitis. Final results are expected to be presented at next year’s meeting.

Two Hungarian farmers opened their high-producing dairy farms to this group to benefit from the specific knowledge of the participants on udder health. The main challenge on these farms was frequent change of milkers. The udder health experts advised the farmers about proper cow handling, general hygiene and good nutrition of cows, and regular team meetings combined with appropriate training for the farm workers.