Herd Testing Companies and Dairy Labs

The StaphGold™ ELISA test allows effective, timely and accurate detection of subclinical S. aureus mastitis, using existing herd testing samples to enable proactive management of infected animals and minimise their impact on herd health.

Approximately 70-80% of the financial losses incurred by dairy farmers from mastitis can be attributed to subclinical mastitis, commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

In many parts of the world, S. aureus is the bacteria most likely to cause contagious subclinical mastitis, and it is notorious for being difficult to treat. 

Milk samples in a laboratory

Contagious mastitis can spread from cow to cow through milking equipment, cleaning cloths and farm workers’ hands.  As there are usually no visible signs of infection, the first warning flags are bulk milk SCC figures increasing.  Even chronic infections can remain subclinical and can continue to spread throughout a herd undetected.

Screening entire herds using Koru Diagnostics’ StaphGold™ test enables cows with subclinical S. aureus mastitis to be identified – regardless of somatic cell count – so these infected animals can be proactively managed.  

This minimises spread within the herd. It’s a classic case of prevention being much better than cure!



Sample access is easy for herd testing and milk recording companies; it is recommended that StaphGold™ ELISA test is performed on all milk samples being analysed in the laboratory; choosing to test only high-SCC cows presents the risk that many S-aureus-positive animals (with low-SCC) go undetected and remain an ongoing infection risk to the herd.

Dairy farmers can request their entire herd to be screened at each herd recording. Doing this enables S. aureus-positive animals to be identified early, and preventive measures put in place to prevent spread of costly mastitis within the herd.

Higher accuracy

The StaphGold™ ELISA test outperforms traditional tests that detect S. aureus pathogens, by identifying specific bacteria biomarkers rather than the bacteria itself. Because S. aureus only sheds into milk intermittently, the StaphGold™ ELISA test can detect non-shedding, infected cows where other tests cannot.

Analytical and diagnostic tests have also proven StaphGold™ ELISA to have high sensitivity, specificity and overall test accuracy. The test’s high negative predictive value means farmers and vets can have a high degree of confidence that negative results are truly negative, and these S. aureus-negative animals can be managed and/or treated accordingly.

The test has a high level of Diagnostic Sensitivity (DSe) and Diagnostic Specificity (DSp) when the recommended cut-off of 0.30 is applied as determined by Bayesian modelling:

Diagnostic Sensitivity Diagnostic Specificity Test accuracy (AUC)
90% 94% 98%

Koru StaphGold™ ELISA kits are manufactured in an ISO9001:2015-accredited facility.

High throughput

The ELISA microplate format enables the handling of high sample numbers, particularly if parts of the process are automated and streamlined.  Experienced and competent technicians can handle several thousand samples each day e.g. 90 samples per plate x 40 plates per day = up to 3600 samples per technician per day. This represents a significant new revenue stream for herd testing laboratories.

Seamless integration

ELISA technology is a very familiar format to most dairy laboratories. Little or no additional lab hardware is usually required to run the StaphGold™ ELISA, which uses standard ELISA equipment. For more information please see the Materials and Equipment list. As these samples are already being handled in the lab, a small rearrangement of sample workflow will enable high SCC samples to be prepared for S. aureus screening. 

This seamless integration will report valuable new information to farmer clients and their veterinarians and represent a worthwhile incremental income from herd testing samples being processed in the laboratory.

Most milk recording laboratories can also identify exactly which herds have a high-SCC history and would benefit most from early detection of S. aureus-positive cows in their herd.

"…any control program relies heavily on an accurate, high throughput, easy-to use and affordable Staph aureus identification procedure. The StaphGold ELISA fulfils these criteria and therefore could form a key element of a farmer’s mastitis control program in the future."

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