To estimate the prevalence of antibodies against Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) among children in eight villages in The Gambia, West Africa.Methods
Sera of 796 children aged 1-15 years were tested for presence of antibodies against phase II of C. burnetii by ELISA.Results
IgG and/or IgM phase II antibodies against C. burnetii were detectable in 8.3% (66/796) of all serum samples analysed with significant differences in seroprevalence between villages. Highest prevalence was found in the age group 1-4 years.Conclusions
Exposure to C. burnetii is considerable in the early years of life in The Gambia, and further studies are warranted to estimate the role of Q fever in acute febrile illness in The Gambia and elsewhere in Africa.