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Euro Surveill. 2012 Jan 19;17(3):20059.

Shifting priorities in the aftermath of a Q fever epidemic in 2007 to 2009 in The Netherlands: from acute to chronic infection.

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National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Infectious Disease Control, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


From 2007 to 2009, the Netherlands faced large seasonal outbreaks of Q fever, in which infected dairy goat farms were identified as the primary sources. Veterinary measures including vaccination of goats and sheep and culling of pregnant animals on infected farms seem to have brought the Q fever problem under control. However, the epidemic is expected to result in more cases of chronic Q fever among risk groups in the coming years. In the most affected area, in the south of the country, more than 12% of the population now have antibodies against Coxiella burnetii. Questions remain about the follow-up of acute Q fever patients, screening of groups at risk for chronic Q fever, screening of donors of blood and tissue, and human vaccination. There is a considerable ongoing research effort as well as enhanced veterinary and human surveillance.

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