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Res Vet Sci. 2007 Aug;83(1):47-52. Epub 2006 Dec 21.

Goats may experience reproductive failures and shed Coxiella burnetii at two successive parturitions after a Q fever infection.

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INRA Tours-Nouzilly, Infectiologie Animale et Santé Publique, 37380 Nouzilly, France.


Q fever is a zoonosis caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium, Coxiella burnetii. Aborting domestic ruminants are the main source of human infection. In January 2003, an abortion episode occurred in a dairy caprine herd where 18/60 (30%) goats experienced reproductive problems: 4/60 (7%) aborted and 14/60 (23%) had stillbirths. Serological screening for abortion-related infectious diseases suggested Q fever. The diagnosis of C. burnetii infection was confirmed with PCR based on the occurrence of C. burnetii shedding into vaginal mucus, faeces and colostrums taken after kidding from the affected animals. The pregnancy following this episode resulted in one abortion and four stillbirths; three of those goats had already experienced reproductive failure during the previous kidding season. The seroprevalence of C. burnetii infection and the bacteria shedding were investigated using both ELISA and PCR assays, respectively, during the course of the initial and subsequent kidding seasons. Serological testing, performed on the whole herd 6 weeks after the abortion episode, showed 48/60 (80%) of ELISA positive goats. PCR assay performed on both vaginal swab and milk samples showed that the bacterium was shed for almost four months after the outbreak. C. burnetii DNA was also amplified from vaginal swab and milk samples taken from goats after the second kidding season. Furthermore, the bacteria were found into 14 vaginal swabs and 12 milk samples taken from infected females at both kidding seasons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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