Goat-Associated Q Fever: A New Disease in Newfoundland
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In the spring of 1999 in rural Newfoundland, abortions in goats were associated with illness in goat workers. An epidemiologic investigation and a serologic survey were conducted in April 1999 to determine the number of infections, nature of illness, and risk factors for infection. Thirty-seven percent of the outbreak cohort had antibody titers to phase II Coxiella burnetii antigen >1:64, suggesting recent infection. The predominant clinical manifestation of Q fever was an acute febrile illness. Independent risk factors for infection included contact with goat placenta, smoking tobacco, and eating cheese made from pasteurized goat milk. This outbreak raises questions about management of such outbreaks, interprovincial sale and movement of domestic ungulates, and the need for discussion between public health practitioners and the dairy industry on control of this highly infectious organism.
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