Epidemiology and Infection

Coxiella

Serological evidence of Coxiella burnetii exposure in native marsupials and introduced animals in Queensland, Australia

A. COOPERa1 c1, M. GOULLETa2, J. MITCHELLa3, N. KETHEESANa1 and B. GOVANa1

a1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

a2 Ferals Out, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

a3 Biosecurity Queensland, Tropical Weeds Research Centre, Queensland, Australia

SUMMARY

The state of Queensland has the highest incidence of Q fever in Australia. In recent years, there has been an increase in human cases where no contacts with the typical reservoir animals or occupations were reported. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii in Australian native animals and introduced animals in northern and southeastern Queensland. Australian native marsupials sampled included the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and common northern bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus). Introduced species sampled included dingoes (Canis lupus dingo), cats (Felis catus), foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and pigs (Sus scrofa). Serum samples were tested by ELISA for both phase II and phase I antigens of the organism using an Australian isolate. The serological evidence of C. burnetii infection demonstrated in these species has public health implications due to their increasing movement into residential areas in regional Queensland. This study is the first known investigation of C. burnetii seroprevalence in these species in northern Queensland.

(Accepted August 16 2011)

(Online publication September 06 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Ms. A. Cooper, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville 4811 Queensland, Australia. (Email: Alanna.Cooper@jcu.edu.au)

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