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Switzerland - 20 cases of human infections of Q fever diagnosed in Haut-Valais - now considered resolved

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  • Switzerland - 20 cases of human infections of Q fever diagnosed in Haut-Valais - now considered resolved

    Translation Google

    Wallis Posted thursday at 9:22 p.m.

    Six cases of Q fever diagnosed in Haut-Valais

    Six cases of Q fever have been diagnosed in Haut-Valais after the discovery of an outbreak of animal infection in the Brig region. The patients were infected with a bacteria transmitted by goats.

    “The cantonal doctor recommends vulnerable people in the region between Visp and Brig to consult their doctor in the event of symptoms suggestive of the flu”, indicates Thursday the canton on its website. He also recommends that pregnant women take a blood test even in the absence of symptoms, as a precautionary principle.

    In addition to the usual hygiene measures, additional measures have been ordered in order to reduce the risk of transmission to humans as much as possible, notes the canton. The focus of infection in the herd in Brig is now under control, but some people may have been exposed before the measures ordered by the cantonal veterinarian were put in place.

    Infection by contact with animals

    Q fever is caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii which can be carried through the air over relatively long distances. Human beings become infected mainly by breathing it, or by direct contact with animals, in particular during childbirth or an abortion.

    The infection is not transmitted from human to human, specifies the canton. Most do not develop symptoms other than mild flu or remain symptom-free. As a rule, the disease heals spontaneously without leaving sequelae.

    Six cas de fièvre Q ont été diagnostiqués dans le Haut-Valais après la découverte d'un foyer d'infection animale dans la région de Brigue. Les patients ont été infectés par une bactérie transmise par des chèvres.


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    News 30.03.2023 Public Health Service

    Six cases of Q fever diagnosed in Haut-Valais



    Due to a local outbreak of Q fever, the cantonal doctor recommends vulnerable people in the region between Visp and Brig to consult their doctor in the event of flu-like symptoms. He also recommends that pregnant women in this region take a blood test even in the absence of symptoms, as a precautionary principle.

    Recently, six cases of Q fever were diagnosed in Haut-Valais following the discovery of an outbreak of animal infection in the Brig region. This infection was detected as part of regular monitoring of causes of abortion in a herd of 11 goats, in which many animals were affected. In addition to the usual hygiene measures, additional measures have been ordered in order to reduce the risk of transmission to humans as much as possible. This animal outbreak is now under control, but some people may have been exposed before the measures ordered by the cantonal veterinarian were put in place.

    In people with weakened immune systems and in those with valvulopathy (heart disease), the infection may not heal on its own and become chronic. They are therefore advised, in the event of flu-like symptoms, to look for this infection by a blood test with their doctor, in order to be able to benefit from an early antibiotic treatment.

    Due to the risk of miscarriage if the infection is acquired during pregnancy, it is also recommended that pregnant women take a blood test with their doctor, even if there are no symptoms, in order to benefit from treatment. antibiotic if necessary.

    Q fever is a bacterial infection excreted by affected animals during abortions and which can then be transmitted to humans. The infection is not transmitted from person to person. The bacterium Coxiella burnetii can be carried through the air over relatively long distances and inhaled by people. Most do not develop symptoms other than mild flu or remain symptom-free. As a rule, the disease heals spontaneously without leaving sequelae.

    In animals, coxiellosis is notifiable. Veterinarians and laboratories must report these cases and suspicious signs to the cantonal veterinarian. The infection is often inapparent and causes sporadic cases of late abortions in sheep, goats and more rarely in cows. The number of cases observed in Valais has fluctuated between 0 and 5 cases per year in recent years, but it has increased significantly since 2022 due to improved diagnostic methods. Affected animals usually recover well from this disease.

    En raison d'une épidémie locale de fièvre Q, le médecin cantonal recommande aux personnes vulnérables de la région située entre Viège et Brigue de consulter leur médecin en cas de symptômes évoquant la grippe. Il recommande par ailleurs aux femmes enceintes de cette région d’effectuer un test sanguin même en l’absence de symptômes, par principe de précaution. - https://www.vs.ch/web/communication/detail?groupId=529400&articleId=23022717&redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vs.ch%2Fhome%3Fp_p_id%3Dcom_liferay_asset_publisher_web_portlet_AssetPublisherPortlet_INSTANCE_vUFi3Jlrl5Uc%26p_p_lifecycle%3D0%26p_p_state%3Dnormal%26p_p_mode%3Dview
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    Translation Google

    Press release

    23.06.2023

    Public Health Service
    Consumer Affairs and Veterinary Affairs Department


    End of the outbreak of Q fever in Haut-Valais

    The health measures taken at the end of March 2023 following the detection of an outbreak of Q fever in a herd of goats in the Brig region made it possible to identify 20 cases of human infections which could be taken care of. medically. This outbreak is now considered resolved, thanks in particular to the collaboration between doctors, veterinarians, health authorities and breeders.


    After the discovery of an outbreak of Q fever in a goat farm in Mund and following the declaration to the health authorities of two human cases in the region at the end of March 2023, an epidemiological investigation was carried out by the Cantonal Health Unit. Communicable Diseases (UCMT). She had revealed six other human cases. The doctors of Haut-Valais were then informed and made aware of the situation. In addition, people living within a ten kilometer radius of Mund were advised to consult a doctor in the event of symptoms and to people at risk of complications, in particular pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, to get tested even if there are no symptoms.
    '
    The risk of dissemination from the affected farm could be curbed as of March 27 thanks to the measures ordered by the cantonal veterinarian. However, since the incubation period for the disease can last a month and antibodies against the bacterium are not detectable in the blood until 14 days after the first symptoms, the recommended screening has been extended until mid-May.

    A total of 346 people, including 331 residing in Haut-Valais, carried out a serological test (search for antibodies) for Q fever between March 20 and mid-May. 20 infections were detected, 18 of which were recent: nine in people living or having visited Mund and nine in people living or working in the surrounding area. The additional investigations do not make it possible to attribute with certainty the cause of all these infections to the focus of Mund. The bacterium responsible for this infection is indeed frequently present in animals, without always causing apparent symptoms. Seven of the 18 recent infections were in pregnant or recently pregnant women. All were able to be treated. No new case of Q fever has been detected in Haut-Valais since May 4.

    As a reminder, Q fever is a notifiable disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella Burnetii. It can affect sheep, goats and more rarely cows. In the veterinary field, the number of cases detected has increased from 0 to 5 per year to more than 40 by 2022 due to improved diagnostic methods. Coxiellosis remains endemic in animals, but can be transmitted to humans via the air. It thus occasionally causes human infections, but is not transmitted from person to person. Its eradication is not possible due to the characteristics of the bacterium and its often asymptomatic presence.

    The excellent collaboration between all the players involved (farmers, veterinarians, doctors, health authorities and veterinarians) made it possible to quickly recognize and stop this outbreak, while preventing potential complications as best as possible by treating infected people.

    Only the continuation of the good reporting discipline of animal owners as well as appropriate hygiene measures will also make it possible to limit infections in the future. This is why the health authorities remain vigilant and ready to react quickly in the event of a new outbreak, in particular to inform and protect those at risk.



    Les mesures sanitaires prises à la fin mars 2023 suite à la mise en évidence d’un foyer de fièvre Q dans un troupeau de chèvres de la région de Brigue ont permis d’identifier 20 cas d’infections humaines qui ont pu être pris en charge médicalement. Cette flambée est désormais considérée comme résolue, notamment grâce à la collaboration entre les médecins, les vétérinaires, les autorités sanitaires et les éleveurs. - https://www.vs.ch/web/communication/detail?groupId=529400&articleId=24636116&redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vs.ch%2Fweb%2Fcommunication%2Farchives%3Fp_p_id%3Dvsarchiveportlet%26p_p_lifecycle%3D0%26p_p_state%3Dnormal%26p_p_mode%3Dview
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

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