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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Dec;90(12):5352-60.

Comparison of Coxiella burnetii shedding in milk of dairy bovine, caprine, and ovine herds.

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INRA, UR1282, Infectiologie Animale et Santé Publique, Centre de recherche de Tours, 37380 Nouzilly, France.


The shedding of Coxiella burnetii in bovine, caprine, and ovine milk was measured using PCR, in 3 herds for each species, the bulk tank milk samples of which were positive at the time of their selection. Milk samples of 95 cows, 120 goats, and 90 ewes were sampled over 16 wk, as was the bulk tank milk. The shedding of C. burnetii in vaginal mucus and feces was checked at the beginning of the experiment and 2 mo later. The clinical signs in the selected herds as well as the duration and the shedding routes differed among the 3 species. The cows were asymptomatic and shed C. burnetii almost exclusively in milk. In one of the caprine herds, abortions due to C. burnetii were reported. The goats excreted the bacteria mainly in milk. In contrast, the ewes, which came from flocks with abortions due to Q fever (C. burnetii infection), shed the bacteria mostly in feces and in vaginal mucus. This could explain why human outbreaks of Q fever are more often related to ovine flocks than to bovine herds. These excretions did not seem more frequent when the samples were taken close to parturition. The samples were taken from 0 to 421 d after parturition in bovine herds and from 5 to 119 d and 11 to 238 d after parturition in the caprine and ovine herds, respectively. The shedding in milk was sometimes intermittent, and several animals shed the bacteria but were negative by ELISA: 80% of the ewes were seronegative, underscoring the lack of sensitivity of the ELISA tests available for veterinary diagnosis. The detection of antibodies in milk seems more sensitive than it is in serum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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