Coxiella burnetii in Humans, Domestic Ruminants, and Ticks in Rural Western Kenya

Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene (Impact Factor: 2.7). 02/2013; 88(3). DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.12-0169
Source: PubMed


We conducted serological surveys for Coxiella burnetii in archived sera from patients that visited a rural clinic in western Kenya from 2007 to 2008 and in cattle, sheep, and goats from the same area in 2009. We also conducted serological and polymerase chain reaction-based surveillance for the pathogen in 2009-2010, in human patients with acute lower respiratory illness, in ruminants following parturition, and in ticks collected from ruminants and domestic dogs. The IgG antibodies against C. burnetii were detected in 30.9% (N = 246) of archived patient sera and in 28.3% (N = 463) of cattle, 32.0% (N = 378) of goats, and 18.2% (N = 159) of sheep surveyed. Four of 135 (3%) patients with acute lower respiratory illness showed seroconversion to C. burnetii. The pathogen was detected by polymerase chain reaction in specimens collected from three of six small ruminants that gave birth within the preceding 24 hours, and in five of 10 pools (50%) of Haemaphysalis leachi ticks collected from domestic dogs.

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    • "Kenya (Knobel et al. 2013), we utilized complementary methodologies to document seroprevalence in four of the county's livestock species and evaluate local knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning the disease. Caused by the bacterial pathogen Coxiella burnetii, Q fever has multiple transmission modes and occurs globally in both humans and animals. "
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    ABSTRACT: Two hundred fourteen serosamples were collected from four livestock species across five ranches in Laikipia County, Kenya. Serological analysis for Coxiella burnetii (the causative agent for Q fever) showed a distinct seroprevalence gradient: the lowest in cattle, higher in sheep and goats, and the highest in camels. Laikipia-wide aerial counts show a recent increase in the camel population. One hundred fifty-five stakeholder interviews revealed concern among veterinary, medical, ranching, and conservation professionals about Q fever. Local pastoralists and persons employed as livestock keepers, in contrast, revealed no knowledge of the disease. This work raises questions about emerging Q fever risk in Laikipia County and offers a framework for further integrative disease research in East African mixed-use systems.
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