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Seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii antibodies in wild deer populations in eastern Australia

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posted on 2023-07-31, 06:46 authored by L Voss, Jose Luis Alfredo Huaman TorresJose Luis Alfredo Huaman Torres, C Pacioni, A Tolpinrud, Karla HelbigKarla Helbig, Ana-Teresa CarvalhoAna-Teresa Carvalho, SM Firestone
Coxiella burnetii causes significant reproduction losses in livestock and the disease Q fever in humans. Transmission of C. burnetii is facilitated by the stability of the bacterium in the environment and the susceptibility of a variety of host species to infection. Consequently, inter-species transmission occurs frequently through either direct or indirect contact. Wildlife may represent reservoirs of C. burnetii and could therefore be a source of infection for domestic animals. Understanding the prevalence of C. burnetii infections at the wildlife-livestock interface is important for disease control. This study aimed to investigate the extent of C. burnetii exposure in wild deer in eastern Australia. Serum samples were obtained from 413 wild deer from seven regions in four eastern Australian states from 2017 to 2020. Antibodies were detected using a commercial Q fever antibody kit validated for ruminants. Seroprevalence of C. burnetii antibodies in deer was determined and true prevalence estimated, for each region. The overall seroprevalence of C. burnetii antibodies in wild deer was 3.4% (14 seropositive of 413 deer sampled) with true prevalence estimated to be 4.3% (95% credible interval: 0.6%, 10.9%). Seropositive deer were identified only in Queensland (7/108 seropositive) and northern New South Wales (7/120 seropositive). This geospatial distribution is consistent with seropositivity in other animal species and indicative of the level of C. burnetii in the environment. The low seroprevalence suggests that wild deer are unlikely to be a major reservoir species for C. burnetii in eastern Australia but may still be implicated in inter-species transmission cycles.


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Australian Veterinary Journal






8p. (p. 106-114)





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© 2022 The Authors. Australian Veterinary Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Australian Veterinary Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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