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Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 136946, 5 pages
Research Article

Study and Management of a Q Fever Outbreak among Machine Tool Workers in the Basque Country (Spain)

1Preventive Medicine Unit of Cruces Hospital, Basque Health Service OSAKIDETZA, 48903 Barakaldo, Bizkaia, Spain
2Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Basque Country, 48940 Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain
3Unit of Epidemiology of Bizkaia, Sub-Directorate of Public Health of Bizkaia, Health Department of The Basque Government, 48008 Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain
4Laboratory of Microbiology, Basurto Hospital, Basque Health Service OSAKIDETZA, 48013 Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain

Received 9 November 2010; Revised 30 December 2010; Accepted 22 January 2011

Academic Editor: Leo J. Schouten

Copyright © 2011 Jesús Delgado Naranjo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this study is to describe a Q fever outbreak that affected the staff of a machine-tool factory in the Basque Country between 2009/12/20 and 2010/02/23. Study subjects were interviewed using a Q fever specific questionnaire and tested for Q fever serology (immunofluorescence assay with phase II antigen) and detecting Coxiella burnetii DNA using real-time PCR. We interviewed and tested 40 employees (90% of the staff). 33 employees, all of them men, had positive serology (attack rate 82.5%, 95% CI: 70.2–94.8). Mean age was 43.7 years (95% CI: 38.7–48.7) in positive men, 33.7 years (95% CI: −16.6–83.9) in negative men, and 36.25 (95% CI: 27.5–45.0) in women (all negatives). 15 cases (45.5%) were asymptomatic, 9 (27.3%) had flu-like symptoms, and the other 9 (27.3%) had developed radiologically confirmed pneumonia. We obtained 28 blood samples, 22 faeces samples, 11 milk samples, and one vaginal swab from 28 goats resting in a stable near the factory. Serology was positive in 18 goats (64.3%). All environmental samples were negative.