Contagious Agalactia

Contagious Agalactia is a highly contagious disease that affects dairy sheep and goats. Mainly caused by the Mycoplasma agalactiae bacteria in sheep and goats, this disease has also been linked to M capricolum capricolum, M mycoides LC, and M putrefaciens in goats. Contagious Agalactia is transmitted through ingestion of food, milk, water, colostrum or other body fluids contaminated with M. agalactiae. Contagious Agalactia has been known for the past 200 years and can cause severe economic loss from mastitis and decreased milk production.

Where Is the Disease Found?

Southern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and India. 

Can the Disease Affect People?

Contagious Agalactia is not a public health threat.

What are Signs of the Disease?

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased milk production
  • Yellow milk that may become lumpy and can obstruct the teat
  • Lameness
  • Swollen joints
  • Arthritis
  • Inability to stand/walk
  • Keratoconjunctivitis (pinkeye)
  • Pneumonia especially in young animals
  • Abortion

Can It Be Treated?

Contagious Agalactia may be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin and most animals will recover. Any animal suspected of having Contagious Agalactia should be reported to the State Veterinarians or USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge immediately.

How Can the Disease Be Prevented?

Vaccinations are available for Contagious Agalactia. Introduction and spread of the disease may be prevented by developing a vaccination protocol and sound biosecurity practices.

Where Can I Find Additional Information?