Original Article | Open Access
Patrick Dolcé, Marie-Joële Bélanger, Krzysztof Tumanowicz, Claude P Gauthier, Philippe Jutras, Richard Massé, Claude Montpetit, Harold Bernatchez, Dorothy McColl, Harvey Artsob, "Coxiella burnetii Seroprevalence of Shepherds and Their Flocks in the Lower Saint-Lawrence River Region of Quebec, Canada", Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, vol. 14, Article ID 504796, 6 pages, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1155/2003/504796
Coxiella burnetii Seroprevalence of Shepherds and Their Flocks in the Lower Saint-Lawrence River Region of Quebec, Canada
OBECTIVE: To determine the seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii among the shepherds and their sheep in the lower Saint-Lawrence River region (LSLRR) of Quebec, Canada.DESIGN: A prospective human-animal comparative study was conducted with 81 shepherds from 46 farms and a control group matched for sex and age. All participants answered a standardized questionnaire to evaluate their risk factors for Q fever, including a specific section on the work practices of the shepherds. All human subjects had a blood sample taken for serology to phase I and phase II antigens of C burnetii performed by indirect immunofluorescence assay. At each participating farm, seven to nine sheep had blood samples taken for C burnetii serology to be assessed by the complement fixation test.RESULTS: The seroprevalence to C burnetii was higher in the group of shepherds (28.4%) than the control group (1.2%) (P<0.005). Among the group of shepherds, spending more than 5 h/week in the sheep barn (P=0.06) and buying and/or trading sheep within the past six months (P=0.004) were associated with positive C burnetii serology. A total of 137 of 334 sheep (41%) were seropositive for C burnetii. These positive sheep were distributed in 41 of the 46 flocks (89%). No correlation could be demonstrated between a serology for C burnetii in the herds and the shepherds.CONCLUSION: Q fever is highly prevalent in the LSLRR of Quebec, affecting 89% of the flocks and 28% of the shepherds. Shepherds in this region are at increased risk for C burnetii infection in comparison to the general population.
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