We investigated three bovine respiratory pathobionts in healthy cattle using qPCR optimised and validated to quantify Histophilus somni, Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida over a wide dynamic range. A longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the carriage and density of these bacteria in the nasal passages of healthy beef calves (N = 60) housed over winter in an experimental farm setting. The three pathobiont species exhibited remarkably different carriage rates and density profiles. At housing, high carriage rates were observed for P. multocida (95%), and H. somni (75%), while fewer calves were positive for M. haemolytica (13%). Carriage rates for all three bacterial species declined over the 75-day study, but not all individuals became colonised despite sharing of environment and airspace. Colonisation patterns ranged from continuous to intermittent and were different among pathobiont species. Interval-censored exponential survival models estimated the median duration of H. somni and P. multocida carriage at 14.8 (CI95%: 10.6–20.9) and 55.5 (CI95%: 43.3–71.3) days respectively, and found higher density P. multocida carriage was associated with slower clearance (p = 0.036). This work offers insights into the dynamics of pathobiont carriage and provides a potential platform for further data collection and modelling studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 11943 (2019)
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019


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