Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP)

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery November 18, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Cattle in a field.

Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) is an infectious disease of cattle caused by the Mycoplasma mycoides mycoides bacteria. CBPP causes inflammation and enlargement of the lungs. This inflammation can lead to fluid accumulation in the chest cavity and destruction of lung tissue. Damaged areas of lung often harden and adhere to the chest wall, which interferes with effective breathing and causes cattle to die from lack of oxygen.
CBPP is spread through the inhalation of airborne droplets from coughing/sneezing animals. Direct cow-to-cow contact is necessary for the disease to spread. Transplacental infection of the fetus can occur. 

Where Is the Disease Found?

CBPP is endemic to parts of Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, and parts of India and China; with minor outbreaks in the Middle East. Countries free of CBPP include the US, UK, and Australia. 

Can the Disease Affect People?

CBPP is not a public health threat.

What are Signs of the Disease?

  • Fever
  • Moist coughing from exercise
  • Painful, shallow, and difficult breathing
  • Reluctance to move
  • Stance with head extended, mouth open, protruding tongue and turned-out elbows
  • Grunting/groaning
  • Frothy oral discharge
  • Emaciation
  • Swollen, painful joints (calves)

Can It Be Treated?

Diagnosis is based on clinical signs, complement fixation test, and necropsy. Treatment is recommended only in endemic areas because the organisms may not be eliminated, and carriers may develop. The treatment for these areas is a series of 6 injections of Tylosin.  Any cow suspected of having Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia should be reported to the State Veterinarians or USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge immediately.

How Can the Disease Be Prevented?

Vaccinations for CBPP exist but should only be used in endemic areas. The introduction of CBPP into the United States can be prevented by following basic biosecurity procedures including quarantine of animals of unknown health status.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.