Molecular epidemiology of Coxiella burnetii from ruminants in Q fever outbreak, the Netherlands

Hendrik I J Roest, Robin C Ruuls, Jeroen J H C Tilburg, Marrigje H Nabuurs-Franssen, Corne H W Klaassen, Piet Vellema, René van den Brom, Daan Dercksen, Willem Wouda, Marcel A H Spierenburg, Arco N van der Spek, Rob Buijs, Albert G de Boer, Peter Th J Willemsen, Fred G van Zijderveld

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158 Citations (Scopus)


Q fever is a zoonosis caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. One of the largest reported outbreaks of Q fever in humans occurred in the Netherlands starting in 2007; epidemiologic investigations identified small ruminants as the source. To determine the genetic background of C. burnetii in domestic ruminants responsible for the human Q fever outbreak, we genotyped 126 C. burnetii-positive samples from ruminants by using a 10-loci multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analyses panel and compared them with internationally known genotypes. One unique genotype predominated in dairy goat herds and 1 sheep herd in the human Q fever outbreak area in the south of the Netherlands. On the basis of 4 loci, this genotype is similar to a human genotype from the Netherlands. This finding strengthens the probability that this genotype of C. burnetii is responsible for the human Q fever epidemic in the Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-75
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


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