Using receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve methodology this study was designed to assess the diagnostic effectiveness of somatic cell count (SCC) and the California mastitis test (CMT) in Valle del Belice sheep, and to propose and evaluate threshold values for those tests that would optimally discriminate between healthy and infected udders. Milk samples (n= 1357) were collected from 684 sheep in four flocks. The prevalence of infection, as determined by positive bacterial culture was 0.36, 87.7% of which were minor and 12.3% major pathogens. Of the culture negative samples, 83.7% had an SCC < 500,000/mL and 97.4% had <1,000,000. cells/mL. When the associations between SC score (SCS) and whole sample status (culture negative vs. infected), minor pathogen status (culture negative vs. infected with minor pathogens), major pathogen status (culture negative vs. infected with major pathogens), and CMT results were evaluated, the estimated area under the ROC curve was greater for glands infected with major compared to minor pathogens (0.88 vs. 0.73), whereas the area under the curve considering all pathogens was similar to the one for minor pathogens (0.75). The estimated optimal thresholds were 3.00 (CMT), 2.81 (SCS for the whole sample), 2.81 (SCS for minor pathogens), and 3.33 (SCS for major pathogens). These correctly classified, respectively, 69.0%, 73.5%, 72.6% and 91.0% of infected udders in the samples. The CMT appeared only to discriminate udders infected with major pathogens. In this population, SCS appeared to be the best indirect test of the bacteriological status of the udder.
- Intramammary infection
- Receiver-operating characteristic curve
- Somatic cell count
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology