Q fever, an acute or chronic zoonotic illness caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii, has received international attention in recent years, primarily due to a large-scale outbreak in the Netherlands from 2007 to 2010 involving more than 4,000 human cases and the euthanasia of 50,000 goats, one of the primary reservoirs for the bacterium (94). In 2011, a Q fever outbreak in the northwestern United States implicated 21 goat farms in three states and resulted in 20 human infections. The Netherlands outbreak, the largest reported in history, and the recent U.S. outbreak illustrate the importance of a coordinated animal and human health response to such outbreaks and the need for comprehensive response guidance for public health and animal health officials.
A Q fever document, approved by both the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) and the National Assembly of Animal Health Officials, provides background information on C. burnetii infection in humans and animals and details measures for public health and animal health officials to consider when conducting a joint investigation.
The document is available at www.nasphv.org/Documents/Q_Fever_2013.pdf.