Author(s): Van den Brom R, Schimmer B, Schneeberger PM, Swart WA, van der Hoek W,
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Abstract Since 2007, Q fever has become a major public health problem in the Netherlands and goats were the most likely source of the human outbreaks in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Little was known about the consequences of these outbreaks for those professional care providers directly involved. The aim of this survey was to estimate the seroprevalence of antibodies against C. burnetii among Dutch livestock veterinarians and to determine possible risk factors. Single blood samples from 189 veterinarians, including veterinary students in their final year, were collected at a veterinary conference and a questionnaire was filled in by each participant. The blood samples were screened for IgG antibodies against phase I and phase II antigen of C. burnetii using an indirect immunofluorescent assay, and for IgM antibodies using an ELISA. Antibodies against C. burnetii were detected in 123 (65.1\%) out of 189 veterinarians. Independent risk factors associated with seropositivity were number of hours with animal contact per week, number of years graduated as veterinarian, rural or sub urban living area, being a practicing veterinarian, and occupational contact with swine. Livestock veterinarians should be aware of this risk to acquire an infection with C. burnetii. Physicians should consider potential infection with C. burnetii when treating occupational risk groups, bearing in mind that the burden of disease among veterinarians remains uncertain. Vaccination of occupational risk groups should be debated.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology