Presence and persistence of Coxiella burnetii in the environment of goat farms associated with a Q fever outbreak.

Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mailstop G-13, 1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA, 30333.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.95). 01/2013; 79(5). DOI: 10.1128/AEM.03472-12
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by inhalation of the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Ruminant livestock are common reservoirs for C. burnetii, and bacteria present in aerosols derived from the waste of infected animals can infect humans. The significance of infection from material deposited in the environment versus transmission directly from infected animals is not known. In 2011 an outbreak of Q fever cases on farms in Washington and Montana was associated with infected goats. A study was undertaken to investigate the quantity and spatial distribution of C. burnetii in the environment of these goat farms. Soil, vacuum, and sponge samples collected on seven farms epidemiologically linked to the outbreak were tested for the presence of C. burnetii DNA by quantitative PCR. Overall, 70.1% of the samples were positive for C. burnetii. All farms had positive samples, but the quantity of C. burnetii varied widely between samples and between farms. High quantities of C. burnetii DNA were in goat housing/birthing areas, and only small quantities were found in samples collected more than 50 meters from these areas. Follow-up sampling at one of the farms one year after the outbreak found small quantities of C. burnetii DNA in air samples, and high quantities of C. burnetii persisting in soil and vacuum samples. The results suggest that highest concentrations of environmental C. burnetii are found in goat birthing areas and contamination of other areas is mostly associated with human movement.

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    ABSTRACT: Coxiella burnetii is the etiologic agent of Q fever. It may occur as two different morphological forms, a large cell variant (LCV) and a small cell variant (SCV). The SCV is characterized by unique resistance to physical and chemical factors and may survive in the environment for many months. The objective of this study was to examine environmental samples for the presence of C. burnetii using real-time PCR in areas where Q fever was previously reported and in randomly selected animal farms where Q fever was not reported. The samples were collected in the following provinces in Poland: Lublin, Subcarpathian and Masovian. Monitoring was performed with real-time PCR and serological methods. Of the 727 environmental samples, 33 (4.54%) contained the multi-copy insertion sequence IS1111, which is specific for C. burnetii. Subsequently, the presence of C. burnetii antibodies was determined using serological tests in selected herds in which positive genetic results were obtained. Serological analyses of 169 serum samples using CFT and ELISA were performed on Polish black-and-white Holstein-Friesian cows and one cow imported from Denmark. Using the CFT method, 11 samples were positive for phase I antibodies and six were positive for phase II antibodies. Moreover, in two cases, the presence of antibodies specific for both phase I and phase II antigens of C. burnetii was detected. However, of the 169 examined serum samples, 20 were positive by ELISA test, of which six were also positive by CFT. Additionally, multi spacer typing (MST) of isolated C. burnetii strains was performed. The MST results identified two new genotypes in Poland, ST3 and ST6. The results indicate that continued research regarding spread of this pathogen within a country is necessary.
    Veterinary Microbiology 10/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.09.034 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Genotyping of bacteria is critical for diagnosis, treatment, and epidemiological surveillance. Coxiella burnetii, the etiological agent of Q fever, has been recognized to have a potential for bioterrorism purposes. Because few serosurveys have been conducted in Italy, there is still limited information about the distribution of this pathogen in natural conditions. In this paper, we describe the genotyping of C. burnetii strains by multispacer sequence typing (MST) detected in cattle and goat farms in the Abruzzi region of Italy. Biological samples (milk, aborted fetus) positive for C. burnetii DNA were sequenced in the spacer regions and compared with those already publicly available ( ). The MST profile of C. burnetii detected in milk samples demonstrated the presence of a new allele, whereas the C. burnetii spacer sequences from fetus and milk goat samples displayed a new allelic combination. The results suggest the circulation of novel genotypes of C. burnetii in Italy.
    Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) 10/2014; 14(10):710-5. DOI:10.1089/vbz.2014.1587 · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The high prevalence of Coxiella burnetii infection in dairy cattle herds recently reported and the long survival time of the bacterium in the environment pose a risk to human and animal health that calls for the implementation of control measures at herd level. This study presents the results of a 2-year vaccination program with an inactivated phase I vaccine in a Spanish dairy herd naturally infected with C. burnetii. Calves older than 3 months and non-pregnant heifers and cows were vaccinated in April 2011 and the farm was subsequently visited at a monthly basis for vaccination of recently calved cows and calves that reached the age of 3 months. Annual booster doses were given to previous vaccinated animals as well. The effectiveness of the vaccine was assessed in terms of level of C. burnetii shedding through milk and uterine fluids and environmental contamination as determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).ResultsThe percentage of shedder animals through uterine fluids and milk progressively decreased, and C. burnetii DNA load in bulk-tank milk samples was low at the end of the study. The average seroconversion rate in not yet vaccinated animals, which acted as control group, was 8.6% during the first year and 0% in the second year. DNA of C. burnetii was found in aerosols and dust samples taken in the calving area only at the beginning of the study, whereas slurry samples remained C. burnetii PCR positive for at least 18 months. Multiple Locus Variable number tandem-repeat Analysis identified the same genotype in all C. burnetii DNA positive samples.Conclusions In the absence of any changes in biosecurity, the overall reduction of C. burnetii infection in animals to 1.2% milk shedders and the reduced environment contamination found at the end of the study was ascribed to the effects of vaccination together with the culling of milk shedders. Vaccination has to be planned as a medium-long term strategy to suppress risks of re-infection.

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