Q Fever in domestic and wild ruminants from the Pyrenees
Cattle, goats and sheep are considered the main reservoir of the disease, but there is not much information about the role wild hosts may play in the maintenance or dispersal of the bacteria. On the other hand, the relationship among domestic and wild ruminants may have an effect on C. burnetii transmission, with repercussions for public health in game and livestock areas.
In order to unveil the relative relevance of wild and domestic ruminants in the ecology of C. burnetii in the Catalan Pyrenees, the Servicio de Ecopatología de Fauna Salvaje (SEFaS) of the UAB has carried out a serological study. Serum samples from wild ruminants (chamois, roe deer, red deer, fallow deer and mouflon) and domestic ruminants (cow, sheep and goat) sharing summer pastures with wild ruminants were collected and analyzed during a five-year period.
Antibodies against C. burnetti were detected in sheep, mouflons, red deer and cows, in decreasing order of relevance, although the scenario varies depending on the area of study and the livestock flock sampled. Sheep was the only species showing antibodies against C. burnetti in all the study areas, reaching higher values than the other species except for mouflon. These differences suggest that sheep likely has a more important role in the ecology and transmission of C. burnetti in the Catalan Pyrenees then the other species studied. The low exposition to C. burnetti in wild ruminants indicates that none of these species acts as a single reservoir host, but probably participate in epidemiological cycles which include other hosts, as for example rodents.
It is advisable that the human sectors in contact with the studied species (hunters, farmers,...) adopt prophylactic measures to avoid C. burnetti infection, particularly during game meat manipulation or in case of abortions in domestic ruminants.
Fernández-Aguilar X, Cabezón Ó, Colom-Cadena A, Lavín S, López-Olvera JR. Serological survey of Coxiella burnetii at the wildlife–livestock interface in the Eastern Pyrenees, Spain. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica. 2015;58:26. doi:10.1186/s13028-016-0209-4.