Mycoplasma species infect a wide range of hosts. For farm animals, antibiotics can help prevent clinical signs and lesions and reduce economic losses, but they cannot eliminate infection and therefore do not present a satisfactory long-term solution. Similarly, as for other bacterial pathogens, the resistance to antibiotics that have shown efficacy against mycoplasmoses is rising.
Annually Mycoplasma infections of livestock cause several hundred million losses in Europe. For instance, Mycoplasma infections in poultry lead to an estimated economic loss in the USA of $780 million. In Europe, M. bovis costs the cattle industry close to 144 million Euros per year, while M. hyopneumoniae is responsible for estimated losses to the swine industry of more than $200 million per year.
Infection and sickness (red dot) lead to a delay in growth and economic losses. By contrast, vaccinated animals are protected against the respective diseases.