Saturday, November 30, 2013
Q- fever, abbreviated for Queensland Fever, is occasionally diagnosed as a cause of abortion in sheep. Sheep likely become infected by ingesting or breathing in the organisms (coxiella burnetii), which are contained in minute droplets of fluid (aerosol), which accompany an abortion or an infected lambing. Once a ewe has given birth, she is still susceptible to getting the illness from inhalation in the area from infected material. The infected material would be the lambing area and/or dried after birth that would contain the poisonous molecules that could then contaminate the air through dust particles and the ground around leaving the ewe in a contaminated area and inhaling to her lungs causing her to get sick.
Humans can become infected when present at the parturition of any infected mammal. Q- fever, in otherwise healthy humans normally causes only mild flu-like symptoms (which will usually go undiagnosed), and in a small amount of people, serious heart complications and or pneumonia may develop. The organism is also excreted in the milk of infected animals causing any unpasteurized milk products unsafe to consume from any species.
Treatment and control are problematical and your veterinarian will advise resolution should Q-fever be diagnosed in your flock.