Prevalence of Coxiella burnetii antibodies in wild ruminants in Kavecany zoo, Kosice, eastern Slovakia.
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Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University, Košice, Slovak Republic
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Košice, Slovak Republic
Department of Epizootiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Veterinary Medicine, Košice, Slovak Republic
Erik Dorko   

Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Srobarova 2, 041 80 Kosice, Slovak Republic
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2009;16(2):321–324
Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular agent that causes Q fever in humans and animals. The most important reservoirs of C. burnetii in nature are small wild rodents, but infection was also demonstrated in other animals, including ruminants. Samples of blood were obtained from 4 mouflons, 60 fallow deer, 9 Cameroun goats, 8 Carpathian goats, and 8 Cameroun sheep living in a zoo. Antibodies to phase I and phase II C. burnetii antigens were determined in sera by ELISA. Antibody titres were detected in the range 1:100-1:200. The serum prevalence of phase II and phase I antibodies to C. burnetii antigens was 25 % and 0% in mouflons, 70 % and 0% in goats, 37.5 % and 12.5 % in sheep and 28.3 % and 5 % in fallow deer, resp. Serologic diagnosis of Q fever in animals can be difficult. Some animals may shed C. burnetii and pose a risk for infection prior to the development of antibodies, and some infected animals never seroconvert. The employed ELISA test is a very sensitive assay for C. burnetii, but it is also a labour intensive method and therefore not routinely available.