Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/8714
A Q fever outbreak associated to courier transport of pets
PLoS One. 2019 Nov 25;14(11):e0225605.
On August 3rd, 2017, a Q fever outbreak alert was issued at a courier company that in addition to urgent freight transport offered pet delivery services. The epidemiological investigation set the exposition period between June 1 and August 8. In this period, 180 workers from two operational platforms for parcel distribution located in two provinces of the Basque Country (Bizkaia and Araba) were exposed; 64 filled a questionnaire and provided blood samples for serological testing, resulting in 10 confirmed cases (15.6%) and six (9.4%) probable cases. Nine workers (8 confirmed and 1 probable) showed Q fever symptoms, including pneumonia (five cases), and required medical care services, including one hospital admission. The attack rate was 25% (16/64), being higher among workers that visited the Bizkaia platform. This suggested that the origin of the outbreak was in the Bizkaia platform, where animals in transit waited at a pet holding site until being moved to their destination. Environmental samples consisting on 19 surface dust and two aerosol samples were collected at the Bizkaia platform to investigate the presence of C. burnetti DNA. All dust samples were positive by real time PCR, the lowest Ct values being found in dust collected at the pet holding facilities, and therefore suggesting that contamination originated at the pet holding site. The genotype identified in dust was SNP1/MST13, one of the most commonly identified genotypes in goats and sheep in the Basque Country. During the exposure period, two deliveries of miniature goats were made, of which only one could be investigated and tested negative. Although the contamination source could not be unequivocally identified, transport of ruminants was banned at the company, and Q fever was included among the occupational-associated health risks.
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