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Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) prevalence in associated populations of humans and small ruminants in The Gambia.To simultaneously estimate the prevalence of antibodies against Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) among adults and small ruminants, and C. burnetii shedding prevalence among small ruminants in households in the Kiang West district of The Gambia, and to assess associated risk factors.
Dot map cartograms for detection of infectious disease outbreaks: an application to Q fever, the Netherlands and pertussis, Germany.Geographical mapping of infectious diseases is an important tool for detecting and characterising outbreaks. Two common mapping methods, dot maps and incidence maps, have important shortcomings. The former does not represent population density and can compromise case privacy, and the latter relies on pre-defined administrative boundaries. We propose a method that overcomes these limitations: dot map cartograms. These create a point pattern of cases while reshaping spatial units, such that spatial area becomes proportional to population size. We compared these dot map cartograms with standard dot maps and incidence maps on four criteria, using two example datasets. Dot map cartograms were able to illustrate both incidence and absolute numbers of cases (criterion 1): they revealed potential source locations (Q fever, the Netherlands) and clusters with high incidence (pertussis, Germany). Unlike incidence maps, they were insensitive to choices regarding spatial scale (criterion 2). Dot map cartograms ensured the privacy of cases (criterion 3) by spatial distortion; however, this occurred at the expense of recognition of locations (criterion 4). We demonstrate that dot map cartograms are a valuable method for detection and visualisation of infectious disease outbreaks, which facilitates informed and appropriate actions by public health professionals, to investigate and control outbreaks.
Livestock-associated risk factors for pneumonia in an area of intensive animal farming in the Netherlands.Previous research conducted in 2009 found a significant positive association between pneumonia in humans and living close to goat and poultry farms. However, as this result might have been affected by a large goat-related Q fever epidemic, the aim of the current study was to re-evaluate this association, now that the Q-fever epidemic had ended. In 2014/15, 2,494 adults (aged 20-72 years) living in a livestock-dense area in the Netherlands participated in a medical examination and completed a questionnaire on respiratory health, lifestyle and other items. We retrieved additional information for 2,426/2,494 (97%) participants from electronic medical records (EMR) from general practitioners. The outcome was self-reported, physician-diagnosed pneumonia or pneumonia recorded in the EMR in the previous three years. Livestock license data was used to determine exposure to livestock. We quantified associations between livestock exposures and pneumonia using odds ratios adjusted for participant characteristics and comorbidities (aOR). The three-year cumulative frequency of pneumonia was 186/2,426 (7.7%). Residents within 2,000m of a farm with at least 50 goats had an increased risk of pneumonia, which increased the closer they lived to the farm (2,000m aOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.4-2.6; 500m aOR 4.4, 95% CI 2.0-9.8). We found no significant associations between exposure to other farm animals and pneumonia. However, when conducting sensitivity analyses using pneumonia outcome based on EMR only, we found a weak but statistically significant association with presence of a poultry farm within 1,000m (aOR: 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.7). Living close to goat and poultry farms still constitute risk factors for pneumonia. Individuals with pneumonia were not more often seropositive for Coxiella burnetii, indicating that results are not explained by Q fever. We strongly recommend identification of pneumonia causes by the use of molecular diagnostics and investigating the role of non-infectious agents such as particulate matter or endotoxins.
Remarkable spatial variation in the seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii after a large Q fever epidemic.Prior to the 2007-2010 Q fever epidemic in the Netherlands, the seroprevalence of antibodies against Coxiella burnetii in the general population was 1.5%, which is low compared to other countries. We aimed to determine the seroprevalence after the Q fever epidemic among people living in the affected area, compare the seroprevalence with the incidence of Q fever notifications during the 2007-2010 Q fever epidemic, and to identify farm exposures associated with having antibodies against C. burnetii.