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Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Jul;10(7):1264-9.

Wind in November, Q fever in December.

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Unité des Rickettsies, CNRS, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France.


Q fever, a worldwide zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii, can be transmitted from animal reservoirs to humans by the inhalation of infected aerosols. We investigated the epidemiology of Q fever in the Bouches-du-Rhone district of southern France, particularly the role of wind and rainfall in C. burnetii transmission. During the winter of 1998 to 1999, an unexpected number of cases were diagnosed in the area. This statistically higher incidence was associated with an increased frequency of the mistral 1 month before onset of disease, i.e., shortly after the main lambing season. These data confirm that wind plays a role in C. burnetii transmission, a factor that can be monitored but not prevented. Further studies are needed to identify and confirm preventable individual behavioral risk factors for Q fever.

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