In a cross-sectional study of bluetongue virus (BTV) and Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) infections, a sample of 572 California dairy cows was tested for the presence of antibodies to answer the question: Is it possible to identify and to assess quantitatively the associations between positive antibody test and production? Serum samples collected from these cows during December 1986 were tested for the presence of antibodies to BTV and M. bovis using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Data on milk production were extracted from individual cow sheets of the California Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) record-keeping system and interfaced with percentage ELISA results for analysis. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses, using the X2 test for categorical variables or Student's t-test for continuous variables and multiple logistic regression respectively, were carried out to evaluate for possible associations between positive antibody tests to each agent and each production variable of interest. Complete data on all variables studied were obtained for 289 (50.5%) cows for M. bovis and 423 (74%) cows for BTV. For cows with complete data on all variables, estimates of the point prevalence of antibodies to BTV and M. bovis were 70.5% and 66.1%, respectively. Results of this study indicated that Guernsey cows were more likely to have a positive BTV test than Holstein cows and that cows in higher lactations were more likely to test positive to BTV ELISA than those in lower lactations (p<0.05). Because all cows except those on one farm were Holstein, our confidence in the effect of breed is limited. The association between lactation number and BTV seropositive test may be an age factor identified earlier in the study. For M. bovis, the results of the analysis indicated that seropositive cows were more likely to produce less milk, on a mature equivalent basis (ORadj=0.96, p=0.034), and that they had less extended 305 day milk production potential (ORadj=0.90, p<0.0001) than seronegative cows.
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