Coxiella burnetii seroprevalence and risk factors in sheep farmers and farm residents in The Netherlands

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In this study, Coxiella burnetii seroprevalence was assessed for dairy and non-dairy sheep farm residents in The Netherlands for 2009–2010. Risk factors for seropositivity were identified for non-dairy sheep farm residents. Participants completed farm-based and individual questionnaires. In addition, participants were tested for IgG and IgM C. burnetii antibodies using immunofluorescent assay. Risk factors were identified by univariate, multivariate logistic regression, and multivariate multilevel analyses. In dairy and non-dairy sheep farm residents, seroprevalence was 66·7% and 51·3%, respectively. Significant risk factors were cattle contact, high goat density near the farm, sheep supplied from two provinces, high frequency of refreshing stable bedding, farm started before 1990 and presence of the Blessumer breed. Most risk factors indicate current or past goat and cattle exposure, with limited factors involving sheep. Subtyping human, cattle, goat, and sheep C. burnetii strains might elucidate their role in the infection risk of sheep farm residents.

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