Seroepidemiological survey of q- fever in livestock and humans in Bura, Tana River County, Kenya
Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by the intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii. It was first described in 1935. Ruminants are considered to be the primary source of infection to humans who become infected through inhalation of aerosols from infected ruminants and also through exposure to animal products such as unpasteurized dairy products. Clinical disease in animals is characterized by abortion and still births in sheep and goats while in cattle there is infertility and mastitis. In humans the disease syndrome can be divided into acute and chronic forms with the acute form manifesting as a relatively mild self-limiting febrile illness while the chronic form is a more severe disease characterized by hepatitis, pneumonia and chronic fatigue. This disease is therefore important due to its public health implications in humans and reproductive losses in animals. There are reports on the occurrence of this disease in Kenya, though very few studies have been published recently on the epidemiology of the disease and specifically in pastoral communities where livestock is the main source of livelihood. This study was therefore designed with the following objectives 1) To assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of the livestock owners in relation to Q fever and its control in Bura, Tana River County; 2) To estimate the seroprevalence of Q fever in livestock and humans in the study area; and 3) To determine the risk factors associated with the disease in livestock and humans. A seroepidemiological study was therefore carried out using an ELISA test to determine the occurrence of Coxiella burnetii antibodies in livestock (cattle sheep and goats) and humans in Bura, Tana River County. Questionnaires were also administered to household heads to determine the risk factors for Q fever.
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