Pesky Mycoplasma species cause infectious mastitis, with most transmissions occurring via milking equipment and direct animal contact. However, research has found that this pathogen can lurk in sand bedding, too.

Research published in the January Journal of Dairy Science found that Mycoplasma bovis was discovered in high numbers in recycled bedding sand at a Utah dairy experiencing an outbreak of clinical mycoplasma mastitis. The pathogen survived in sand for eight months, and its concentration in sand over time was associated with changes in temperature, precipitation and the concentration of other microorganisms.

Therefore, scientists think that recycled bedding sand appears to be a possible environmental source of Mycoplasma pathogens. They add that these results warrant further investigation of this environmental source’s role in the epidemiology of mycoplasma mastitis.