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Reduction of Coxiella burnetii Prevalence by Vaccination of Goats and Sheep, the Netherlands
Recently, the number of human Q fever cases in the Netherlands increased dramatically. In response to
this increase, dairy goats and dairy sheep were vaccinated against Coxiella burnetii.
All pregnant dairy
goats and dairy sheep in herds positive for Q fever were culled. We identified the effect of vaccination on
bacterial shedding by small ruminants. On the day of culling, samples of uterine fluid, vaginal mucus, and
milk were obtained from 1,034 pregnant animals in 13 herds.
Prevalence and bacterial load were reduced
in vaccinated animals compared with unvaccinated animals. These effects were most pronounced in
animals during their first pregnancy.
Results indicate that vaccination may reduce bacterial load in the
environment and human exposure to C. burnetii.