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One Health approach to controlling a Q fever outbreak on an Australian goat farm

By K.A. Bond, G. Vincent, C.R. Wilks, L. Franklin, B. Sutton, J. Stenos, R. Cowan, K. Lim, E. Athan, O. Harris, L. Macfarlane-Berry, Y. Segal, S.M. Firestone

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A recent outbreak of Q fever was linked to an intensive goat and sheep dairy farm in Victoria, Australia, 2012-2014. Seventeen employees and one family member were confirmed with Q fever over a 28-month period, including two culture-positive cases. The outbreak investigation and management involved a One Health approach with representation from human, animal, environmental and public health. Seroprevalence in non-pregnant milking goats was 15% [95% confidence interval (CI) 7–27]; active infection was confirmed by positive quantitative PCR on several animal specimens. Genotyping of Coxiella burnetii DNA obtained from goat and human specimens was identical by two typing methods. A number of farming practices probably contributed to the outbreak, with similar precipitating factors to the Netherlands outbreak, 2007-2012. Compared to workers in a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtered factory, administrative staff in an unfiltered adjoining office and those regularly handling goats and kids had 5·49 (95% CI 1·29–23·4) and 5·65 (95% CI 1·09–29·3) times the risk of infection, respectively; suggesting factory workers were protected from windborne spread of organisms. Reduction in the incidence of human cases was achieved through an intensive human vaccination programme plus environmental and biosecurity interventions. Subsequent non-occupational acquisition of Q fever in the spouse of an employee, indicates that infection remains endemic in the goat herd, and remains a challenge to manage without source control.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2015
Publication Title Epidemiology & Infection
Volume 144
Issue 6
Pages 1129-1141
Publisher Cambridge University Press
DOI 10.1017/S0950268815002368
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Australia
  5. Farm animals
  6. Food animals
  7. Goats
  8. Health
  9. One Health
  10. open access
  11. peer-reviewed
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed