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IS Q fever a significant cause of reproductive failure in cattle?
  1. Luis-Miguel Ortega-Mora, DVM, PhD, DipEVPC
  1. SALUVET Group, Animal Health Department, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Complutense University of Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28240 Madrid, Spain
  1. E-mail for correspondence luis.ortega{at}

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Q FEVER is a zoonotic disease considered as emerging or re-emerging in many countries around the world. The aetiological agent is Coxiella burnetii, a pleomorphic Gram-negative bacterium able to infect many animal species including mammals, birds and arthropods (Arricau-Bouvery and Rodolakis 2005). In human beings, Q fever can be acute (pneumonia, hepatitis), but can also take a severe chronic form (endocarditis), following an early infection that may have passed unnoticed. Acute infection during pregnancy, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, may result in abortion and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as premature birth. The risk is greater in the first trimester. In rare cases, Q fever in people can be fatal, although the disease is usually treatable with antibiotics. People generally acquire infection through airborne transmission from animal reservoirs. A key role has been suggested for domestic ruminants, but other domestic and wildlife animals (pets, rabbits, birds, etc) and vector arthropods (ticks) can also be involved (Angelakis and Raoult 2010, EFSA 2010).

One of the important points under investigation in C burnetii infection is to determine the magnitude, distribution, and significance of infection and disease in the different domestic ruminant species (cattle, sheep and goats) and their role in transmission to people. At present, it is known that C burnetii infection is widespread in the different domestic ruminant …

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