Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides

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Also known as: M. mycoides

Causes Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia — CBPP

Mycoplasma mycoides
Phylum Firmicutes
Class Mollicutes
Order Mycoplasmatales
Family Mycoplasmataceae
Genus Mycoplasma
Species M.mycoides


Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (Image sourced from Bristol Biomed Image Archive with permission)

M.mycoides is a species of the Mycoplasmas genus. The subsp. mycoides causes Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), a severe contagious respiratory disease of cattle that is endemic in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It is notifiable in the UK and many other countries and has not been seen here for many years. It is transmitted by close contact with clinically or subclinically affected animals and severity depends on strain and host susceptibility. There is usually around 50% morbidity and high mortality rate in severe outbreaks.

Clinical Signs

Clinical signs include an acute onset fever, anorexia, depression, lowered milk yield, hyperpnoea, coughing and a mucopurulent nasal discharge, which all occur suddenly. Dyspnoea occurs with abducted elbows and extended necks and an expiratory grunt. The disease can be fatal within 1-3 weeks.

Calves may suffer from arthritis, synovitis and endocarditis, but are most commonly seen as sudden death.


Clinical signs and history to suspect diagnosis but definitive diagnosis should be achieved by post mortem examination. Signs at necropsy will include marbled appearance to lungs with consolidated grey and red lobules separated by emphysematous areas, serofibrinous pleural fluid and necrotic foci surrounded by fibrous capsules (in chronic cases acting as source of infection).

A PCR on pleural fluid, lung tissue, regional lymph nodes or bronchoalveolar lavage of fluids is useful, as is fluorescent antibody test or serological tests such as serum agglutination, haemagglutination, complement fixation and ELISA. Due to the rarity of the disease in developed countries, the best diagnostic tool is not known.

Treatment and Control

Slaughter of affected cattle in countries where the disease is exotic is necessary by law. Movement restrictions, quarantine and slaughter of carrier animals in endemic countries is required. Vaccination has been used in endemic regions.

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Mycoplasma mycoides publications


Andrews, A.H, Blowey, R.W, Boyd, H and Eddy, R.G. (2004) Bovine Medicine (Second edition), Blackwell Publishing

Radostits, O.M, Arundel, J.H, and Gay, C.C. (2000) Veterinary Medicine: a textbook of the diseases of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses Elsevier Health Sciences

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