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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2007 Fall;7(3):394-402.

Outbreak of Q fever associated with a horse-boarding ranch, Colorado, 2005.

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  • 1Epidemic Intelligence Service, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA. wendy.bamberg@epchealth.org

Abstract

Coxiella burnetii is a bacterium located worldwide that can cause Q fever when inhaled. We describe an outbreak of Q fever associated with a horse-boarding ranch that had acquired two herds of goats. We conducted case finding and cohort studies among persons who boarded horses on the ranch and ranchers and among residents in the surrounding community, and conducted sampling of the goats and environment, to determine risk factors for infection and guide public health interventions. Sixty-six ranchers and persons who boarded horses on the ranch were interviewed; 62 (94%) were not professional ranchers. Twenty persons (53%) of 38 persons tested had evidence of infection with C. burnetii. Contact with goats was associated with seropositivity, including having helped birth goats (relative risk [RR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6-3.6), having had contact with newborn goats (RR 2.3, CI 1.2-4.3), having vaccinated goats (RR 2.1, CI 1.3-3.5), having had contact with stillbirths or newborns that died (RR 2.1, CI 1.2-3.7), and having fed goats (RR 2.1, CI 1.0-4.3). Among 138 tested persons living within 1 mile of the ranch, 11 (8%) demonstrated evidence of C. burnetii infection; eight seropositive persons (73%) had no direct contact with the ranch. Testing of the soil and goats with an IS1111 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay confirmed the presence of C. burnetii among the herd and in the environment. This outbreak of Q fever was caused by exposure to infected goats, but exposure to the environment likely played a secondary role. Laypersons should not participate in the birthing process of goats; professionals who come into contact with birthing goats should be educated on reducing their infection risk. This is the first time an IS1111 PCR assay has been used in an outbreak investigation in the United States.

PMID:
17896873
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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