CATTLE INFECTIONS -- DEATHS
to be expected from
Sludge biosolids and Reclaimed water
by Jim Bynum, VP 12/3/2008
Help for Sewage Victims
Retired Safety Consultant
Can you imagine a farmer or cattleman knowingly spreading death dealing bacteria, virus, parasites and toxic
contaminated sewage sludge biosolids on their cattle's grazing land where they and their children could be exposed..
EPA and WEF promote sludge biosolids as a safe fertilizer based on a test for a few thermotolerant bacteria they call
fecal coliform. However, like EPA and WEF, animal health experts make it very difficult to get comprehensive data on
disease organisms by naming the disease rather than the microorganism. No one really wants you to know that soil,
plant and animal microorganisms have now incorporated genes that make them human disease causing pathogens.
Due to runoff from a sludge site, we had our family farm tested. We found both E. coli and Salmonella (coliform
bacteria) at over 800,000 cfu per 100 grams of soil one year after sludge disposal at Kansas City, Missouri's sludge
disposal farm. E. coli and Salmonella are two of the less hardy bacteria. Can you imagine the damage if cattle had
been allowed to graze on this farm? EPA and the state said not to worry, the crops only went into the human food
supply. EPA has no standard for disease organisms in soil and there is no possible way to do a risk assessment.
Since EPA is not concerned with sludge victims, why would this faceless group of people be concerned with the health
or deaths of livestock?
Some of the disease microorganisms that affect live stock. Double click highlighted words for additional
A) Clostridial diseases: These diseases include Blackleg, Malignant Edema, Black’s Disease, Enterotoxemia and
The most common histotoxic clostridia in humans include Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium novyi,
and Clostridium septicum, followed by Clostridium histolyticum and Clostridium bifermentans (1).
These clostridia mainly inhabit the soil and the intestinal tracts of humans and animals (1). Human
clostridial gas gangrene often results from spore contamination in wound infections or in surgical
operations under nonsterile conditions, while spontaneous, nontraumatic, or intrinsic infections from
a bowel source have been increasingly reported recently
Clostridium perfringens - Clostridial infections are manifested by acute deaths or severe diarrhea with
abdominal pain. Calves may be bloated causing them to bellow and kick at their abdomen. Sudden death
of vigorous fast-growing calves is typical. Calves surviving 4-5 hours after onset of colic may develop
bloody stool. Under conditions where rich protein and carbohydrate substrate are fed (such as abrupt
changes in diet), Clostridium can proliferate and produce toxins. Rapid feed changes disturbs the normal
adaptive pattern of intestinal microbes. Overeating can lead to gut stasis, preventing the normal flushing
of toxins. Viral infections may predispose calves to clostridial diarrhea due to altered intestinal flora and
overgrowth of the organism. Clostridium perfringens Type A has been associated with abomasal ulcers in
Blackleg is a highly fatal disease of young cattle caused by the spore forming, rod shaped, gas producing
bacteria Clostridium chauvoei. The spores of the organism can live in the soil for many years. The
bacteria enters the calf by ingestion and then gains entrance to the body through small punctures in the
mucous membrane of the digestive tract.
Black disease (also called Infectious Necrotic Hepatitis) is caused by the bacterium Clostridium novyi. The
organism produces toxins in the liver usually following damage to the liver by migrating liver fluke, causing
death and usually follows damage to the liver by migrating liver fluke.
Enterotoxemia -- Infection with Clostridium perfringens types B and C causes severe enteritis, dysentery,
toxemia, and high mortality in young lambs, calves, pigs, and foals. Types B and C both produce the
highly necrotizing and lethal β toxin that is responsible for severe intestinal damage. This toxin is sensitive
to proteolytic enzymes, and disease is associated with inhibition of proteolysis in the intestine. Sow
colostrum, which contains a trypsin inhibitor, has been suggested as a factor in the susceptibility of young
piglets. Type C also causes enterotoxemia in adult cattle, sheep, and goats. The diseases are listed
below, categorized as to cause and host. C perfringens also has been associated with hemorrhagic
enteritis in dogs. (See also intestinal diseases in horses, Intestinal Diseases in Horses and Foals:
Malignant edema is an acute, generally fatal toxemia of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and pigs usually
caused by Clostridium septicum , often accompanied by other clostridial species. Other clostridia
implicated in wound infections include C chauvoei , C perfringens , C novyi , and C sordellii . The disease
occurs worldwide. A similar infection in humans is not uncommon.
Redwater (Bacillary Hemoglobinuria) can affect cattle at any time of the year; however, it is most common
in the late spring, summer, and autumn. Redwood is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium
hemolyticum, which colonizes in the liver of susceptible cattle and produces protein toxins that in turn
destroy the body's red blood cells, damages other organ systems and rapidly causes death. Redwater
is rare in cattle less than one year of age and while young cattle possess a certain resistance to Cl
hemolyticum, they can be affected and die also. The most commonly affected cattle are adults in good
Three disease conditions occur; septicemic, enteric, and/or carrier. Calves with the septicemic form can
die with no clinical signs (slight depression and in appetence) or diarrhea and colic with convulsions. The
course of disease is a few hours, but rarely more than 1-2 days. The enteric form is most common. Calves
will have slightly watery diarrhea, changing to voluminous feces with mucosal shreds, casts and/or blood.
Initially, calves will have a fever but their temperature falls rapidly as dehydration progresses. Chronic
salmonellosis is responsible for the carrier state.
B) Anthrax: This cause of sudden death has occurred in at least three areas in Utah, but is
only seen sporadically.
In humans [Bacillus anthrax]
Anthrax, a highly infectious and fatal disease of mammals and humans, is caused by a relatively large
spore-forming rectangular shaped bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. Most outbreaks occur in areas
where animals have previous died of anthrax, as the spores remain viable for decades. The
predominant sign in cattle with anthrax is a progression from a normal appearance to dead in a matter of
hours. Most animals are simply found dead. Once an outbreak begins in the herd animals may be
observed with signs of weakness, fever, excitement followed by depression, difficulty breathing,
uncoordinated movements and convulsions. Bloody discharges from the natural body openings as well as
edema in different parts of the body are sometimes observed. After death, the animal's body rapidly
Anthrax is a rare infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax occurs naturally
around the world in wild and domestic hoofed animals, especially cattle, sheep, goats, camels and
antelopes. It can also occur in humans when they are exposed to the bacterium, usually through handling
animals or animal hides. There are three forms of anthrax infection: cutaneous (skin), inhalation (lungs)
and gastrointestinal (stomach and intestine). If people have been intentionally exposed, as in a bioterrorist
release, contact with skin would be the most likely route of exposure. Breathing in the spores that have
been spread through the air could cause inhalation anthrax.
II. RESPIRATORY DISEASES
A) IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) (Rednose): A viral infection of the upper
respiratory tract. In humans [herpesviruses]
Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (commonly called IBR or red nose) is an acute, contagious virus disease C) Brucellosis (Bangs): Many states are free of this disease agent,
of cattle. Often implicated as an infection which initiates the shipping fever complex. This infection usually
occurs in the air passages of the head and the wind pipe. However, in females this virus also causes
inflammation of the vulva and vagina and abortion. Abortion occurs about 20 to 45 days after infection.
In humans [Brucella]
Brucellosis of cattle, also known as "contagious abortion" and "Bangs disease", is caused by infection with
the bacterium Brucella abortus, which can also cause a disease of humans known as "undulant fever".
Brucellosis infection of cattle causes abortion or premature calving of recently infected animals, most often
between the fifth and eight month of pregancy. Although federal and state regulations have helped to
control this disease, there is still a threat. Infected cows frequently suffer from retained afterbirth, are
difficult to get rebred and sometimes become sterile.
D) Vibriosis (Campylobacter): A common bacterial disease, spread through breeding. It
causes early embryonic death so appears as an infertility and results in a prolonged breeding and
calving season as well as a reduced calf crop.
In humans [Campylobacter]
Vibriosis (Campylobacter fetus) in cattle is an infectious bacterial disease of the genital tract causing
infertility and occasional abortions. It is a venereal disease spread by infected bulls when they mate
susceptible cows and heifers. It is considered to be the most important cause of infertility in cattle.
E) Lepto: May cause abortion and illness.
In humans [Leptospira]
At least five species of leptospira, a corkscrew-like bacteria, affect cattle in the United States. The species F) Trichomoniasis: A common disease in Utah that causes early embryonic death.
most commonly found are hardjo, icterohaemorrhagiae, canicola, L. pomona, and grippotyphosa.
Abortion two to five weeks after infection is common, but most occur about the seventh month of
In humans [Trichomonas]
Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease of cattle that causes infertility and occasional abortions in cows and
heifers. It is caused by Trichomonas fetus, a small motile protozoan found only in the reproductive tract of
the bull and cow. Disease organisms transferred to the cow's vagina from the bull during breeding
migrate up to the uterus and cause the infection. Recently infected cows develop a mild white sticky
discharge from the vulva which can last for up to two months. Large number of cows, often over 90% of
the herd, will be affected in herds that have not been previously infected. Repeat breeding or infertility of
individual cows can last up to five months. The reason for repeat breeding appears to be death of the
embryo, often within 10 days. Eventually cows begin to cycle again and can carry a fetus to term.
IV. SCOURS -- Diarrhea
A) Rota and Corona Virus: Two viral agents that are common in Utah herds and contribute to scours. They usually
produce only mild disease signs by themselves, but become more severe when combined with stress or other agents.
Rota virus - Rota virus infections affects calves between 1 and 21 days old. The disease is characterized
by sudden onset and rapid spread. Calves become reluctant to stand and nurse, mildly depressed,
salivate, and have watery, yellow diarrhea. The diarrhea lasts 1-2 days and maybe longer with secondary
infection (3-5 days). Under germ-free conditions rota virus infections are self-limiting and of short duration
6-10 hours (like the 24 hour flu). Serum antibodies do not protect calves from infection. As the level of
colostral antibodies present in the intestines decline, calves become more susceptible.
Corona virus - Corona virus infections are similar to rota viral infections except, usually the clinical signs
are more severe. Calves up to 3 weeks old can be affected. Clinical signs include sudden onset of
diarrhea, moderate depression, reluctance to nurse, passage of feces containing mucus and milk curds.
After 2-4 days of diarrhea, calves become severely depressed, weak, gaunt, and eventually die. Under
germ-free conditions corona virus is more severe and can lead to death. Typically, corona virus is found
along with other diarrheal disease agents.
B) E. coli (Coliform): A bacterial cause of scours that usually appears in calves under 5 days of age. A common
contaminant in manure and may build up to epidemic levels.
Colibacillosis - E. coli - Colibacillosis usually occurs in calves 1-10 days old. Typically, calves out of first
calf heifers are more susceptible. Other associated factors include seasonal variation, overcrowding and
poor sanitation which allow build up of organisms in calving pens. Milk pails and feeding equipment can
become contaminated. Signs include frequent and effortless diarrhea, pasted rear quarters, fluid or
semisolid malodorous feces with chunks of partially digested milk, rapid dehydration and weight loss,
depression, anorexia, weakness, and death. Body temperature is normal at first but subnormal as the
disease worsens. Death can occur in 3-5 days. Mixed infections can occur along with rota/corona virus
and/or cryptosporidiosis. Illness can occur in up to 75 percent of calves on a farm, while death losses can
range from 10 to 50 percent in unvaccinated herds.
Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) causes several different disease syndromes including failure of
conception, persistent infection, abortion, congenital defects, stillbirths, and pre- and post-natal growth
retardation. BVDV infection is often a component of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) by causing an
impairment of the immune system. Infection in the immune competent animal causes a broad range of
clinical signs ranging from the more common subclinical syndrome with serum antibody production as the
only evidence of infection to a severe intestinal disease with or without hemorrhages and possible death.
Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) is a negative-sense RNA virus that causes vesicular disease in cattle,
horses and pigs. Little is known about the pathogenesis of this virus in livestock species. In order to better
understand virus distribution and local immune response to VSV infection we developed a disease model
in cattle utilizing a coronary-band scarification procedure that consistently resulted in clinical disease.
Over 72 hours, virus titers increased from 2 log10 TCID50 to >8 log10 TCID50 by in the inoculated
coronary bands (cb), but virus was never found in blood, oral-pharyngeal fluid, nor in non-
inoculated coronary bands.
Cryptosporidiosis - Transmission of cryptosporidia is by fecal-oral route. Within the intestines auto-
infection can occur in immuno-suppressed calves. The entire developmental cycle can occur within 72
hours. Natural infection occurs in calves 1-3 weeks of age. Clinical signs include increased frequency of
defecation, straining, anorexia, weight loss, depression, and dehydration. Diarrhea is profuse, watery, and
has a yellow color. Usually many calves are affected but few die as a direct consequence of
cryptosporidiosis. There appears to be a seasonal effect with more disease occurring during fall/winter or
stressful periods. Affected calves need supportive care since the disease is self-limiting and the intestinal
repair can be prolonged.
In humans [Crytosporidium]
Coccidiosis - Like most other diarrheal diseases, coccidiosis is spread by a fecal-oral route. Coccidia
oocysts must sporulate (hatch) before they become infective, so auto-infection is not possible. The
incubation period is typically 17-21 days. In mild cases, calves will have diarrhea with little or no blood,
anorexia and be listless for several days. In more severe cases, the feces becomes liquid with blood,
mucus and strands of intestinal mucosa. These calves become emaciated, dehydrated, weak, and listless.
Occasionally, fly strike occurs in warmer months. Calves that develop nervous coccidiosis will have acute
diarrhea, tremors, convulsions, blindness, and death.
In humans [Coccidia]
Salmonellosis - Salmonellosis usually affects calves between 10 days and 3 months of age. The most ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
common sero-types are Salmonella typhimurium and S. dublin. Disease severity will be determined by the
virulence of the sero-type(s) involved, the concentration of Salmonella in environment and the immune
status of the calves. Salmonella can be transmitted by fecal-oral contamination or aerosolized.
Arcanobacterium pyogenes, Proteus and Fusobacterium necrophorum growth densities were associated
with mucopurulent or purulent vaginal mucus. The bacterial growth densities for A. pyogenes, Escherichia
coli, non-hemolytic Streptococci, and Mannheimia haemolytica were associated with a fetid mucus odour.
Peripheral plasma concentrations of α1-acid glycoprotein were higher if there was a fetid compared with a
normal vaginal mucus odour (1.50 ± 0.09mg/mL versus 1.05 ± 0.02mg/mL, P < 0.001), but did not differ
significantly between vaginal mucus character scores
In humans [arcanobacter]
Coliform Mastitis (E. Coli, Klebsiella sp., Pseudomonas sp., Serratia sp.) - An environmental bacterial infection of the
Arthritis: The incidence of Mycoplasma arthritis is increased in cattle herds with enzootic Mycoplasma
mastitis and/or pneumonia, since Mycoplasma arthritis occurs commonly secondary to bovine affected with
Mycoplasma pneumonia or mastitis due to hematogenous spread. Oral infection of calves from dams with
Mycoplasma mastitis may also occur.
Bovine mastitis on well managed dairy farms is usually caused by opportunistic environmental pathogens
(mostly coliform bacteria and streptococci other than Streptococcus agalactiae) and it has a high clinical
incidence in early lactation. Studies of experimental coliform mastitis induced 1 week after calving found
cows are much less able to combat the effects of E. coli in the mammary gland compared with cows in mid
to late lactation.
In his UVM lab, Kerr produced the modified gene that enables animals to produce a naturally occurring
enzyme, lysostaphin, in their milk. Kerr sent the gene to the USDA in Beltsville, Md., where Wall's group
inserted the gene into Jersey embryos. So far, five transgenic cows and one bull carrying the lysostaphin
gene have been produced. Among these, three cows underwent testing; all showed resistance to
Staphylococcus aureus, and one never became infected. Fourteen percent of the mammary glands of
transgenic cows were infected compared to a 71 percent rate of infection in nontransgenic cows in the
experiment. Lysostaphin in the cows’ milk breaks down the cell walls of the S. aureus bacteria, a
major cause of mastitis.
Mastitis, the most consequential disease in dairy cattle, costs the US dairy industry billions of dollars
annually. To test the feasibility of protecting animals through genetic engineering, a transgene encoding
the endopeptidase, lysostaphin, was introduced into cattle. Transgenic cows produced lysostaphin at
concentrations ranging from 0.9 to 14 ug/ml in their milk. In vitro assays demonstrated the milk's ability
to kill Staphylococcus aureus, exhibiting bioequivalence of approximately 15% of recombinant
lysostaphin produced in bacteria.
Johne's disease or paratuberculosis is a common disease in cattle throughout the world.
Despite highly successful eradication efforts in several countries, tuberculosis of cattle remains a serious health
concern worldwide. In addition, recent outbreaks of tuberculosis in Michigan, California, Texas, and New Mexico
demonstrate that the disease is far from eliminated from the United States.
Salmonella Dublin Infection
Diseases caused by Salmonella bacteria are some of the most important diseases found in cattle. Not because they
are very common or because infection cause high disease and death rates, but because all salmonellae found in cattle
can potentially spread to humans, so a considerable amount of government money is spent on investigating
Salmonella outbreaks in order to protect public health, particularly on dairy farms.
In humans [Salmonella dublin]
- Death occurs in around 75% of affected animals if they are not treated.
- Calves become dehydrated, collapse and die.
- Calves may also die suddenly with no previous diarrhoea
- Pneumonia, stiffness, joint-ill and meningitis are also seen.
Listeriosis, a disease of the central nervous system, is caused by the bacterium Listeria moncytogenes. This
bacterium can live almost anywhere--in soil, manure piles, and grass. Listeriosis is common in cattle, sheep and goats
and can occur in pigs, dogs, and cats, some wild animals, and humans. Animals infected with Listeria can show signs
restlessness, loss of appetite, fever and nervous system disorders. Although not seen in every case, the most notable
symptom gives this disease its nickname, "Circling Disease."
In humans [listeria]
Isolated were two types of bacteria (having common morphologic and cultural behaviour and related antigenic
composition) from aborted fetuses and placentae of cows with a positive reaction after both Huddleson and placentae
of cows with a positive reaction afterboth Huddleson and Wright. They were shown to be new species of the group
Mimeae and the genus Yersinia. It was demonstrated through immunodiffusion and immunoelectrophoresis that
these new bacteria present antigenic relationship with Brucella organisms.
In humans [Mineae] and [Yersina]
The purpose of the research proposed here is to determine whether infection of a woman's breast tissue
with bovine leukemia virus (BLV) makes it more likely that she will develop breast cancer. Our interest in
this question stems from the fact that breast cancer in the mouse is caused by a virus, MMTV, which is
transmitted from mother to nursing baby mice via the milk. The MMIV system provides proof that a
naturally occurring cancer can be caused by a virus in a food source. Since the main source of milk for
humans is cows, a bovine virus might be a likely candidate for a milk-transmitted agent of human
Bovine leukemia virus (BLV)is a cancer causing virus of cattle which can be transmitted from cow to calf
via the milk. BLV commonly infects dairy and beef cattle and is found in the marketed milk and meat of
these animals. Most infected cattle are healthy and are not removed from the herd. Consumption of non-
pasteurized dairy products or undercooked beef could possibly allow transmission of infectious virus to
humans. BLV can infect other species including sheep and goats naturally, and several species
experimentally including non-human primates. BLV can also infect the cells of many species cultured in
flasks, including cells from humans and other primates. We recently discovered that BLV infects the breast
cells of cows naturally and causes these cells to behave more like cancer cells. This indicates that this
"leukemia" virus can target more than just blood cells.