Dose-Response Model of Coxiella burnetii (Q Fever)

ArticleinRisk Analysis 31(1):120-8 · January 2011with 49 Reads
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Abstract
Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by the intracellular gram-negative bacterium Coxiella burnetii (C. burnetii), which only multiplies within the phagolysosomal vacuoles. Q fever may manifest as acute or chronic disease. The acute form is generally not fatal and manifestes as self-controlled febrile illness. Chronic Q fever is usually characterized by endocarditis. Many animal models, including humans, have been studied for Q fever infection through various exposure routes. The studies considered different endpoints including death for animal models and clinical signs for human infection. In this article, animal experimental data available in the open literature were fit to suitable dose-response models using maximum likelihood estimation. Research results for tests of severe combined immunodeficient mice inoculated intraperitoneally (i.p.) with C. burnetii were best estimated with the Beta-Poisson dose-response model. Similar inoculation (i.p.) trial outcomes conducted on C57BL/6J mice were best fit by an exponential model, whereas those tests run on C57BL/10ScN mice were optimally represented by a Beta-Poisson dose-response model.

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  • Article
    Full-text available
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  • Studies on Q fever in man. Trans-actions of the Association of American Physicians
    • Tigertt Wd
    • Benenson
    • As
    Tigertt WD, Benenson AS. Studies on Q fever in man. Trans-actions of the Association of American Physicians, 1956; 69:98–104.
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    Provides the latest QMRA methodologies to determine infection risk cause by either accidental microbial infections or deliberate infections caused by terrorism. Reviews the latest methodologies to quantify at every step of the microbial exposure pathways, from the first release of a pathogen to the actual human infection. Provides techniques on how to gather information, on how each microorganism moves through the environment, how to determine their survival rates on various media, and how people are exposed to the microorganism. Explains how QMRA can be used as a tool to measure the impact of interventions and identify the best policies and practices to protect public health and safety. Includes new information on genetic methods. Techniques use to develop risk models for drinking water, groundwater, recreational water, food and pathogens in the indoor environment.
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  • Article
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  • Article
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  • Article
    Full-text available
    Q fever is a zoonosis with a worldwide distribution with the exception of New Zealand. The disease is caused by Coxiella burnetii, a strictly intracellular, gram-negative bacterium. Many species of mammals, birds, and ticks are reservoirs of C. burnetii in nature. C. burnetii infection is most often latent in animals, with persistent shedding of bacteria into the environment. However, in females intermittent high-level shedding occurs at the time of parturition, with millions of bacteria being released per gram of placenta. Humans are usually infected by contaminated aerosols from domestic animals, particularly after contact with parturient females and their birth products. Although often asymptomatic, Q fever may manifest in humans as an acute disease (mainly as a self-limited febrile illness, pneumonia, or hepatitis) or as a chronic disease (mainly endocarditis), especially in patients with previous valvulopathy and to a lesser extent in immunocompromised hosts and in pregnant women. Specific diagnosis of Q fever remains based upon serology. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antiphase II antibodies are detected 2 to 3 weeks after infection with C. burnetii, whereas the presence of IgG antiphase I C. burnetii antibodies at titers of >/=1:800 by microimmunofluorescence is indicative of chronic Q fever. The tetracyclines are still considered the mainstay of antibiotic therapy of acute Q fever, whereas antibiotic combinations administered over prolonged periods are necessary to prevent relapses in Q fever endocarditis patients. Although the protective role of Q fever vaccination with whole-cell extracts has been established, the population which should be primarily vaccinated remains to be clearly identified. Vaccination should probably be considered in the population at high risk for Q fever endocarditis.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Q fever is a zoonosis related to the existence of Coxiella burnetii infected animals. The authors studied the seroprevalence and risk factors associated to C. burnetii infection in veterinary students in Zaragoza (Spain). Sera were collected at the beginning and the end of the academic year (1994-1995) and were tested by Complement fixation test to detect antibodies against C. burnetii. 10.02 and 11.02% seroprevalences were observed at the beginning and the end of the study respectively. The cumulative incidence through the period of study was 0.0157. Risk factors associated to C. burnetii were multiple: students coursing the speciality in Food Inspection and Technology or the speciality of Animal Production; to practise with living animals in general and particularly with ruminants and to contact frequently with persons who worked with animals, particularly with veterinarians, farmers and animal traders. In parallel, the students coursing the first course showed a significant lower seroprevalence. Male students from the fifth course were significantly more seroprevalent than females, where sex was a protection factor. Concerning the clinical signs asked in the questionnaire, cardiovascular disturbances, flu and/or pneumonia, sweating, transient hyperthermia or spondylitis were associated factors. Conversely, a good response after treatment of symptoms was a protection factor. The only risk factor associated with incidence along the year of study was practising in farms. The authors recommend a revision of hygiene measures to control risk factors and the diagnostic of C. burnetii infection when populations at risk show the associated symptoms.
  • Article
    The choice of a dose-response model is decisive for the outcome of quantitative risk assessment. Single-hit models have played a prominent role in dose-response assessment for pathogenic microorganisms, since their introduction. Hit theory models are based on a few simple concepts that are attractive for their clarity and plausibility. These models, in particular the Beta Poisson model, are used for extrapolation of experimental dose-response data to low doses, as are often present in drinking water or food products. Unfortunately, the Beta Poisson model, as it is used throughout the microbial risk literature, is an approximation whose validity is not widely known. The exact functional relation is numerically complex, especially for use in optimization or uncertainty analysis. Here it is shown that although the discrepancy between the Beta Poisson formula and the exact function is not very large for many data sets, the differences are greatest at low doses--the region of interest for many risk applications. Errors may become very large, however, in the results of uncertainty analysis, or when the data contain little low-dose information. One striking property of the exact single-hit model is that it has a maximum risk curve, limiting the upper confidence level of the dose-response relation. This is due to the fact that the risk cannot exceed the probability of exposure, a property that is not retained in the Beta Poisson approximation. This maximum possible response curve is important for uncertainty analysis, and for risk assessment of pathogens with unknown properties.
  • Infectious Disease Clin-ics of North America
    • D H Tissot-Dupont
    Tissot-Dupont H, Raoult D. Q fever. Infectious Disease Clin-ics of North America, 2008; 22(3):505–514.
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    Full-text available
    Q fever is a zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii and recently has been recognized as a potential agent of bioterrorism. In Q fever, men are symptomatic more often than women, despite equal seroprevalence. We hypothesized that sex hormones play a role in the pathogenesis of C. burnetii infection. When C57/BL6 mice were injected with C. burnetii bacteria load and granuloma numbers were lower in females than in males. Ovarectomized mice showed increased bacteria load in the spleen and the liver, similar to that found in males. The granuloma number was also increased in ovarectomized mice and reached the levels found in males. Tissue infection and granulomatous response are largely under the control of estrogens: treatment of ovarectomized mice with 17β-estradiol reduced both bacteria loads and granuloma numbers. These results show that sex hormones control host response to C. burnetii infection and may account for host-dependent clinical presentation of Q fever
  • Article
    Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes a worldwide zoonotic disease, Q fever. Since C. burnetii infection is an occupational hazard and could develop into severe chronic disease in humans, vaccination should be considered to protect individuals at-risk of contact with naturally infected animals or exposure to the agents. Although several vaccines produced from Phase I whole-cell C. burnetii are effective in protecting against the infection in humans, vaccination of previously sensitized people can induce severe local and occasional systemic reactions. Safe use of these vaccines requires screening of potential vaccinees by skin tests, serological tests, or in vitro lymphocyte proliferation assay. Since these procedures are time-consuming and costly, they limit the use of whole-cell vaccines in a mass vaccination program. Efforts have been underway to develop a safer, more effective new-generation vaccine that will not cause adverse reactions when given to someone with pre-existing immunity. This article describes new information relating to the characterization of acquired immunity to C. burnetii infection that will provide a fundamental understanding of the development of protective immunity against Q fever. Recent works focused on development of recombinant vaccines against this pathogen offers promise in the pursuit of a new Q fever vaccine.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii, a strictly intracellular bacterium that is a potential bioweapon. Humans usually acquires Q fever after inhalation of dust infected by subclinical animals. We used an aerosol exposure apparatus to challenge immunocompetent (BALB/c) and severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice with two different strains (strain Nine Mile and strain Q 212) of C. burnetii at two different inocula. Pathological lesions and dissemination of the bacteria were related to the size of the inoculum. SCID mice showed major pulmonary lesions, whereas similarly infected BALB/c mice were more able to eliminate the bacteria. Pathological differences were found between the strains, with Nine Mile showing more severe histological lesions and quantified spread of bacteria. Our animal model could provide a new tool for the study of acute Q fever pneumonia, the development of Q fever in immunodeficient hosts, and the differentiation of pathogenicity among C. burnetii isolates.
  • Article
    Q fever is a zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii. Infection with C burnetii can be acute or chronic, and exhibits a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. The extreme infectivity of the bacterium results in large outbreaks and makes it a potential bioweapon. In the past decade, the complete genome sequencing of C burnetii, the exploration of bacterial interactions with the host, and the description of the natural history of the disease in human beings and in experimental models have all added to our knowledge about this fascinating disease. Advances in understanding the pathophysiology and natural history of Q fever are reviewed.
  • Article
    A non-lethal diagnostic procedure based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology was developed to detect viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV). Sensitivity of the assay was tested using purified viral RNA and seeded tissues. Detection limits of the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay were estimated to be 10 fg of purified RNA and 0.97 x 10(3) or 10(0) TCID(50)/g of seeded tissue, depending on the experimental approach employed (viral adsorption allowed for 1 or 24h). Addition of nested PCR increased sensitivity up to 100-fold when cDNA excised from the agarose gel was used as template. Both, RT-PCR and nested RT-PCR, as well as Southern blot were applied to RNA extracted from blood of experimentally infected brown trout and the results were compared with those obtained by applying the same techniques to tissues and also with those of conventional viral isolation in cell culture. The superiority of the nested RT-PCR applied to blood samples has been clearly demonstrated in terms of sensitivity, obtaining positive results in 85% of fish tested, as against 40% obtained by RT-PCR and Southern blot, and only 5% viral isolations in cell culture. This procedure could turn into an important tool for screening of wild stocks as well as valuable individuals in commercial fish farms, since it makes to kill the fish unnecessary.
  • Article
    Q fever is a zoonosis with many manifestations. The most common clinical presentation is an influenza-like illness with varying degrees of pneumonia and hepatitis. Although acute disease is usually self-limiting, people do occasionally die from this condition. Endocarditis is the most frequent chronic presentation. Although Q fever is widespread, practitioner awareness and clinical manifestations vary from region to region. Geographically limited studies suggest that chronic fatigue syndrome and cardiovascular disease are long-term sequelae. An effective whole-cell vaccine is licensed in Australia. Live and acellular vaccines have also been studied, but are not currently licensed.
  • Article
    Acute Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii and can manifest as a flu-like illness, pneumonia, or hepatitis. A need exists in Q fever research for animal models mimicking both the typical route of infection (inhalation) and the clinical illness seen in human cases of Q fever. A guinea pig aerosol challenge model was developed using C. burnetii Nine Mile phase I (RSA 493), administered using a specialized chamber designed to deliver droplet nuclei directly to the alveolar spaces. Guinea pigs were given 101 to 106 organisms and evaluated for 28 days postinfection. Clinical signs included fever, weight loss, respiratory difficulty, and death, with the degree and duration of response corresponding to the dose of organism delivered. Histopathologic evaluation of the lungs of animals infected with a high dose showed coalescing panleukocytic bronchointerstitial pneumonia at 7 days postinfection that resolved to multifocal lymphohistiocytic interstitial pneumonia by 28 days. Guinea pigs receiving a killed whole-cell vaccine prior to challenge with the highest dose of C. burnetii were protected against lethal infection and did not develop fever. Clinical signs and pathological changes noted for these guinea pigs were comparable to those seen in human acute Q fever, making this an accurate and valuable animal model of human disease.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Q fever, a worldwide zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii, has many manifestations in humans. Endocarditis is the most serious complication of Q fever. Animal models are limited to acute pulmonary or hepatic disease and reproductive disorders. An appropriate experimental animal model for Q fever endocarditis does not yet exist. In this study, severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice infected with C. burnetii showed persistent clinical symptoms and died, whereas immunocompetent mice similarly infected became asymptomatic and survived. The SCID mice examined in this study had severe chronic lesions in their primary organs: the heart, lung, spleen, liver, and kidney. The heart lesions of the SCID mice were similar to those in humans with chronic Q fever endocarditis: they had focal calcification and expanded macrophages containing C. burnetii. The 50% lethal dose of C. burnetii in SCID mice was at least 108 times less than that in immunocompetent mice. The SCID mouse is highly susceptible to C. burnetii, and the immunodeficiency of the host enhances the severity of Q fever. This animal model could provide a new tool for the study of chronic Q fever and Q fever in immunodeficient hosts.
  • Article
    Quantitative risk assessment involves the determination of a safe level of exposure. Recent techniques use the estimated dose-response curve to estimate such a safe dose level. Although such methods have attractive features, a low-dose extrapolation is highly dependent on the model choice. Fractional polynomials, basically being a set of (generalized) linear models, are a nice extension of classical polynomials, providing the necessary flexibility to estimate the dose-response curve. Typically, one selects the best-fitting model in this set of polynomials and proceeds as if no model selection were carried out. We show that model averaging using a set of fractional polynomials reduces bias and has better precision in estimating a safe level of exposure (say, the benchmark dose), as compared to an estimator from the selected best model. To estimate a lower limit of this benchmark dose, an approximation of the variance of the model-averaged estimator, as proposed by Burnham and Anderson, can be used. However, this is a conservative method, often resulting in unrealistically low safe doses. Therefore, a bootstrap-based method to more accurately estimate the variance of the model averaged parameter is proposed.
  • Article
    Designation as a Category B biothreat agent has propelled Coxiella burnetii from a relatively obscure, underappreciated, "niche" microorganism on the periphery of bacteriology, to one of possibly great consequence if actually used in acts of bioterrorism. Advances in the study of this microorganism proceeded slowly, primarily because of the difficulty in studying this obligate intracellular pathogen that must be manipulated under biosafety level-3 conditions. The dogged determination of past and current C. burnetii researchers and the application of modern immunological and molecular techniques have more clearly defined the host and bacterial response to infection. This review is intended to provide a basic introduction to C. burnetii and Q fever, while emphasizing immunomodulatory properties, both positive and negative, of Q fever vaccines and C. burnetii infections.
  • Article
    "Q fever" is a generic term for infection caused, mostly in the form of pneumonia or bronchitis, by Coxiella burnetii (Q-fever Coxiella), a pathogen closely related to Rickettsia and Legionella. Q fever is an influenza-like, transient febrile infectious disease that is common to humans and animals; it develops after the transmission of the infectious agent from livestock or pet animals, but person-to-person transmission is rare. In Europe and the United States, it is ranked fourth or fifth as an underlying cause of community-acquired pneumonia. Many patients with Q fever have a good prognosis, and their mortality is about 1%-2% when left untreated. However, because some patients may take a long time to be cured or may have a chronic condition with poor prognosis, patients with definitely diagnosed Q fever or those strongly suspected of having Q fever are strongly recommended to receive treatment. The definite diagnosis of Q fever is made based on a significant increase in serum antibody titers, the determination of which often requires considerable time, and therefore patients must be monitored for a certain period. Q-fever Coxiella, an obligate intracellular parasite, is basically not susceptible to beta-lactam antibiotics, which barely permeate into the cells, but the parasite is susceptible to tetracyclines, macrolides, and quinolones, with these agents being sufficiently permeable into the cells. However, there are many cases of spontaneous cure, and it is likely that beta-lactam treatment may have been involved in these cases. Vaccination against Q fever is not common in Japan.