A study using an ELISA and a real-time PCR assay based on the detection of the repetitive transposon-like gene of Coxiella burnetii revealed that infection with the bacterium was widespread among Dutch dairy herds, with antibodies detected in bulk tank milk (BTM) from 268 of 341 herds (78.6 per cent) and bacterial DNA detected in 193 of 341 herds (56.6 per cent). The BTM samples were taken in November and December 2007. Serological and molecular studies in young and adult cattle selected from 100 herds showed that antibodies were present in the blood of 470 of 2936 (16.0 per cent) lactating cows but only in 19 of 1831 (1.0 per cent) young animals. Bacterial DNA was detected in the milk of 254 of 2925 (8.7 per cent) lactating cows; bacterial DNA was not detected in any of the faecal samples obtained from youngstock. The blood and milk samples were taken from the cattle in the period January to April 2008.
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