Presence and Persistence of Coxiella burnetii in the Environments 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: 3.67). 01/2013; 79(5). DOI: 10.1128/AEM.03472-12
Source: PubMed


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 m from these
areas. Follow-up sampling at one of the farms 1 year after the outbreak found small quantities of C. burnetii DNA in air samples and large quantities of C. burnetii persisting in soil and vacuum samples. The results suggest that the highest concentrations of environmental C. burnetii are found in goat birthing areas and that contamination of other areas is mostly associated with human movement.

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Available from: Joshua S Self, Feb 26, 2015
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    • "Pathogens of public health significance such as Burkholderia mallei/pseudomallei, Francisella tularensis, Yersinia pestis, Bacillus anthracis, and Coxiella burnetii have significantly influenced human health throughout history (Sjöstedt, 2007; Ayyadurai et al., 2008; Oyston, 2008; Butler, 2009; Khan et al., 2013a) and anticipated to do so for the foreseeable future. These pathogens may enter the human body either through ingestion, inhalation or contact with contaminated soil and infected animals (Coenye and Vandamme, 2003; Ayyadurai et al., 2008; Oyston, 2008; Kersh et al., 2013; Khan et al., 2013a). The incidence of B. anthracis, F. tularensis, B. mallei/ pseudomallei and Y. pestis have been reported worldwide (Ayyadurai et al., 2008; Oyston, 2008; Butler, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: A multidisciplinary, collaborative project was conducted to determine the prevalence and distribution of soil-borne zoonotic pathogens in Lahore district of Pakistan and ascertain its Public Health Significance. Using a grid-based sampling strategy, soil samples (n = 145) were collected from villages (n = 29, 5 samples/village) and examined for Bacillus anthracis, Burkholderia mallei/pseudomallei, Coxiella burnetii, Francisella tularensis, and Yersinia pestis using real time PCR assays. Chemical analysis of soil samples was also performed on these samples. The relationship between soil composition and absence or presence of the pathogen, and seven risk factors was evaluated. DNA of B. anthracis (CapB), B. mallei/pseudomallei (chromosomal gene), C. burnetii (IS1111, transposase gene), and F. tularensis (lipoprotein/outer membrane protein) was detected in 9.6, 1.4, 4.8, and 13.1% of soil samples, respectively. None of the samples were positive for protective antigen plasmid (PA) of B. anthracis and Y. pestis (plasminogen activating factor, pPla gene). The prevalence of B. anthracis (CapB) was found to be associated with organic matter, magnesium (Mg), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co), cadmium (Cd), sodium (Na), ferrous (Fe), calcium (Ca), and potassium (K). Phosphorous (P) was found to be associated with prevalence of F. tularensis while it were Mg, Co, Na, Fe, Ca, and K for C. burnetii. The odds of detecting DNA of F. tularensis were 2.7, 4.1, and 2.7 higher when soil sample sites were >1 km from animal markets, >500 m from vehicular traffic roads and animal density of <1000 animals, respectively. While the odds of detecting DNA of C. burnetii was 32, 11.8, and 5.9 higher when soil sample sites were >500 m from vehicular traffic roads, presence of ground cover and animal density of <1000 animals, respectively. In conclusion, the distribution pattern of the soil-borne pathogens in and around the areas of Lahore district puts both human and animal populations at a high risk of exposure. Further studies are needed to explore the genetic nature and molecular diversity of prevailing pathogens together with their seroconversion in animals and humans.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Frontiers in Microbiology
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    • "This pattern is consistent with other smaller studies where likely ST20 isolates (see below) were from cattle [21,27,28] and rarely from goats: a single ST20 sample attributed to a goat in France [21] and abortions in a large commercial dairy goat herd in the UK [29]. Likewise, recent ST8 samples have been collected from sheep, goats and humans [21,27,30,31]. This tendency for host restriction may be the result of a stochastic introduction into a large livestock population allowing for an increase in frequency, spread through trade, but constrained to that population through anthropogenic isolation of livestock species. "
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    ABSTRACT: Coxiella burnetii causes Q fever in humans and Coxiellosis in animals; symptoms range from general malaise to fever, pneumonia, endocarditis and death. Livestock are a significant source of human infection as they shed C. burnetii cells in birth tissues, milk, urine and feces. Although prevalence of C. burnetii is high, few Q fever cases are reported in the U.S. and we have a limited understanding of their connectedness due to difficulties in genotyping. Here, we develop canonical SNP genotyping assays to evaluate spatial and temporal relationships among C. burnetii environmental samples and compare them across studies. Given the genotypic diversity of historical collections, we hypothesized that the current enzootic of Coxiellosis is caused by multiple circulating genotypes. We collected A) 23 milk samples from a single bovine herd, B) 134 commercial bovine and caprine milk samples from across the U.S., and C) 400 bovine and caprine samples from six milk processing plants over three years. We detected C. burnetii DNA in 96% of samples with no variance over time. We genotyped 88.5% of positive samples; bovine milk contained only a single genotype (ST20) and caprine milk was dominated by a second type (mostly ST8). The high prevalence and lack of genotypic diversity is consistent with a model of rapid spread and persistence. The segregation of genotypes between host species is indicative of species-specific adaptations or dissemination barriers and may offer insights into the relative lack of human cases and characterizing genotypes.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · BMC Microbiology
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    • "Infected ruminants shed the bacteria mainly with birth products, but also in vaginal discharges, urine, milk and faeces (Hatchette et al., 2001; Arricau Bouvery et al., 2003; Rodolakis et al., 2007; Rousset et al., 2009). C. burnetii can survive in the environment for up to 1 year (Kersh et al., 2013), and human infections mainly result from inhalation of infected aerosols or dust (Welsh et al., 1958; Tissot- Dupont et al., 1999). "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012
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