Q fever epidemic


 Trisha M Shears/Wikimedia Commons

Health: Two cases of Q fever have been detected in Luxembourg, the Veterinary Services Administration announced Tuesday.

Q fever, caused by the Coxiella burnetii bacterium, is widely found in birds, ticks, and mammals such as sheep and goats, and spread through exposure to fluids and animal waste, the agency said. It explained the syndrome “can cause abortions in goats and sheep.

The veterinary authority began regular testing for the disease in the Grand Duchy “following the outbreak of Q fever at goat forms in the Netherlands in 2009.” It instituted safety measures, including bio-hazard handling of animal waste and carcases, as well as vaccination and milk pasteurization. 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Humans are often very susceptible to the disease, and very few organisms may be required to cause infection.” However, the American health service notes it is “rare” for the disease to spread from human-to-human contact or consumption of animal products.

Symptoms in humans “are either inapparent or appear to be a flu-like illness,” said the Luxembourg agency.