Prevalence of Coxiella burnetii infection in foresters in the south-eastern Poland and comparison of diagnostic methods
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Laboratory of Serological Diagnosis/Cattle and Sheep Disease, National Veterinary Research Institute, Pulawy, Poland
Department of Allergology and Environmental Hazards, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Department of Food Safety and Veterinary , Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(4):699-704
Coxiella burnetii is an aetiologic agent of Q fever. Ticks have been considered as a reservoir and a vector of C. burnetii. The outbreaks of Q fever were noted in different parts of Europe both in animals and humans. Q fever is zoonotic diseases characterized by sudden fever, headache, atypical pneumonia and abortions. Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate the presence of C. burnetii infection in foresters in the south–eastern endemic region of Poland and comparison of diagnostic methods.

Material and Methods:
The serum samples were collected from 304 humans (foresters) from the 12 superintendency in the south-eastern Poland. Additionally, 1,200 ticks Ixodes ricinus were collected from the same area. The sera samples were tested by using serological methods (CFT, ELISA and IFA) and the ticks were tested with the use of real-time PCR.

The results demonstrates that infections with C. burnetii are present in foresters in the south-eastern Poland. The serological results showed both chronic and acute form of Q fever. The statistical analysis of the positive results obtained by three different serological methods revealed that values of χ2 were statistically significant between IFA and ELISA and CFT and IFA. The final percentage of examined foresters classified as positive was 10.52%. No significant differences were observed between CFT and ELISA (p=0.25).The percentage of infected ticks was 15.9%.

The study demonstrates that infections with C. burnetii are present in foresters in the south-eastern Poland. The comparison of serological methods showed that their diagnostic potential is differentiated but the most useful tool is IFA.

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