Seroepidemiology of coxiellosis (Q fever) in sheep and goat populations in the northeast of Iran

Document Type: Full paper (Original article)

Authors

1 Graduated from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran, and Veterinary Biotechnology Research Group, Institute of Biotechnology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

4 Department of Survey and Surveillance, Veterinary Head Office of Khorasan-Razavi Province, Iranian Veterinary Organization, Mashhad, Iran

Abstract

Coxiella burnetii is the etiological agent of coxiellosis in animals and Q fever (a zoonotic disease) in humans. Cattle, sheep and goats are the main reservoirs of infection for humans. This serological survey was conducted to determine the seroprevalence of coxiellosis in sheep and goat populations in Khorasan Razavi province, Iran. Four hundred and sixty animals (255 sheep from 29 herds in 12 counties and 205 goats from 28 herds in 11 counties) were selected using multi-stage cluster random sampling. Sera were
assayed for antibody against C. burnetii using a Q fever ELISA kit. Seroprevalence of C. burnetii at animal level was 36.5% (95% CI: 30.6%-42.4%) for sheep and 29.8% (95% CI: 23.8%-36.2%) for goat populations. The proportion of seropositivity for sheep and goats in the studied counties ranged from 4.5%-72.7% and 6.7%-57.1%, respectively. In 26 (89.6%; 95% CI: 78.6%-100%) sheep and 22 (78.5%; 95% CI: 63.5%-93.5%) goat flocks, at least one seropositive case was detected. Logistic regression model showed that age and location correlated with seroprevalence of the antibody against C. burnetii at the individual level in both species (P<0.05). There was no difference in seroprevalence between sheep and goat populations (P=0.147). This study showed that a relatively high proportion of animals are seropositive to C. burnetii. Considering the economic and public health importance of C. burnetii in animals and humans, measures are to be implemented to prevent its spreading and to reduce the zoonotic risk of C. burnetii in the studied region.

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