OA Epidemiology

Risk Factors of Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever) Seropositivity in Veterinary Medicine Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

Proceedings of the 2013 annual meeting of the Netherlands Epidemiology Society

Volume 1 Issue S1 Abstract 21

 

M.M.T. de Rooij, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht
B. Schimmer, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven
B. Versteeg, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven
P. Schneeberger, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, Jeroen BoschHospital, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
B.R. Berends, Division of Veterinary Public Health, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University,Utrecht
D. Heederik, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht
W. van der Hoek, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven
I.M. Wouters, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht

Background
Q fever is an known occupational risk for veterinarians, however little is known about the risk for veterinary medicine students. This study aimed to assess the seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii among veterinary medicine students and to identify associated risk factors.

Methods
A cross-sectional study with questionnaire and blood sample collection was performed among all veterinary medicine students studying in the Netherlands in 2006. Serum samples (n=674), representative of all study years and study directions, were analyzed for C. burnetii IgG and IgM phase I and II antibodies with an immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Seropositivity was defined as IgG phase I and/or II titer of 1:32 and above.

Results
Of the veterinary medicine students 126 (18.7%) had IgG antibodies against C. burnetii. Risk factors for seropositivity were study direction ‘farm animals’(Odds Ratio (OR) 3.27 [95% CI 2.14-5.02]), advanced year of study (OR year 6: 2.31 [1.22-4.39] OR year 3-5 1.83 [1.07-3.10]), having had a zoonoses during the study (OR 1.74 [1.07-2.82]) and ever lived on a ruminant farm (OR 2.73 [1.59-4.67]). Stratified analysis revealed study direction ‘farm animals’ to be a study-related risk factor apart from ever living on a farm. In addition we identified a clear dose-response relation for the number of years having lived on a farm with C. burnetii seropositivity.

Conclusions
C. burnetii seroprevalence is considerable among veterinary medicine students and study related risk factors were identified. This indicates Q fever as a possible occupational risk for veterinary medicine students, which should be verified in a prognostic study.

Published: 06 Jun, 2013

 
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