THE SEROLOGIC PREVALENCE OF Q FEVER (COXIELLA BURNETII) COMPLEMENT-FIXING ANTIBODIES IN THE PENINSULAR BIGHORN SHEEP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

JAMES R. DEFORGE Bighorn Institute, Palm Desert, CA; Eisenhower Medical Center, Rancho Mirage, CA

Search for other papers by JAMES R. DEFORGE in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
LAWRENCE A. CONE Bighorn Institute, Palm Desert, CA; Eisenhower Medical Center, Rancho Mirage, CA

Search for other papers by LAWRENCE A. CONE in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Q fever is a rare illness in the Southern California desert. During the past 34 years only 6 patients have been diagnosed with the disease at the Eisenhower Medical Center, a referral center for much of the desert and surrounding mountains. In all but 2 instances, Q fever was identified in patients who have been in contact with imported domestic sheep who are brought to the desert to graze and lamb in the fall and winter. The sheep are sent back to Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana in the spring. With frequent infection by Coxiella burnetii established in domestic sheep, we elected to study the prevalence of complement fixing antibodies to Coxiella burnetii in native bighorn sheep who reside in the lower levels of the mountains surrounding the desert. From 1992 to 1999, of 268 serum samples drawn from male and female lambs and adult sheep, 27 tested positive (10%), which is strikingly low when compared with Dall sheep in Alaska (12 of 15), kangaroos, wild rabbits, and brown rats. Because changes have been made in Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat since the animals were listed as endangered in 1998, further follow-up in Q fever serology testing will be of interest.

Author Notes

  • 1

    Derrick EH, 1937. “Q” fever, new fever entity: clinical features, diagnosis and laboratory investigation. Med J Aust 2 :281–299.

  • 2

    Burnet FM, Freeman M, 1937. Experimental studies on the virus of Q fever. Med J Aust 2 :299–302.

  • 3

    Dyer RE, 1938. A filter-passing infectious agent isolated from ticks. IV. Human infection. Public Health Rep 53 :2277–2282.

  • 4

    Fournier P-E, Marrie TJ, Raoult D, 1998. Diagnosis of Q fever. J Clin Microbiol 36 :1823–1834.

  • 5

    Ruppanner R, Brooks D, Morrish D, Spinelli J, Franti CE, Behymer DE, 1982. Q fever hazards from sheep and goats used in research. Arch Environ Health 37 :103–110.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6

    Beck MD, Bell JA, Shaw EW, Huebner RJ, 1949. Q fever studies in Southern California. II. An epidemiological study of 300 cases. Public Health Rep 64 :41–56.

  • 7

    Enright JB, Franti CE, Longhurst WM, Behymer DE, Wright ME, Dutson VJ, 1971. Coxiella burnetii in a wildlife-livestock environment: antibody responses of ewes and lambs in an endemic Q fever area. Am J Epidemiol 94 :62–71.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8

    Peacock MG, Philip RN, Williams JC, Faulkner RS, 1983. Serological evaluation of Q fever in humans: enhanced phase 1 titers of immunoglobulins G and A are diagnostic for Q fever endocarditis. Infect Immun 41 :1089–1098.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9

    Ghigo E, Honstettre A, Capo C, Gorvel J-P, Raoult D, Mege J-L, 2004. Link between impaired maturation of phagosomes and defective Coxiella burnetii killing in patients with chronic Q fever. J Infect Dis 190 :1767–1772.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), 2000. Recovery Plan for Bighorn Sheep in the Peninsular Ranges. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon.

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    Langley JM, Marrie TJ, Covert A, Waag DM, Williams JC, 1988. Poker players pneumonia. An urban outbreak of Q fever following exposure to a parturient cat. N Engl J Med 319 :354–356.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12

    Pope JH, Scott W, Dwyer R, 1960. Coxiella burnetii in kangaroos and kangaroo ticks in Western Queensland. Aust J Exp Biol 38 :17–28.

  • 13

    McQuiston JH, Childs JE, 2002. Q fever in humans and animals in the United States. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2 :179–191.

  • 14

    Zvizdic S, Bajrovic T, Beslagic E, Puvacic S, Velic R, Maglajlia J, Hamzic S, Kapic E, Zvizdic A, 2002. Q-fever, human and animal morbidity in some regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2000. Med Arh 56 :131–133.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Hubalek Z, Juricova Z, Svobodova S, Halouzka J, 1993. A serologic survey for some bacterial and viral zoonoses in game animals in the Czech Republic. J Wildl Dis 29 :604–607.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16

    Zarnke RL, 1983. Serologic survey for selected microbial pathogens in Alaskan wildlife. J Wildl Dis 19 :324–329.

  • 17

    Gardon J, Heraud J-M, Laventure S, Ladam A, Capot P, Fouquet E, Favre J, Weber S, Hommel D, Hulin A, Couratte Y, Talarmin A, 2001. Suburban transmission of Q fever in French Guiana: evidence of a wild reservoir. J Infect Dis 184 :278–284.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18

    DeForge JR, Scott JE, 1982. Ecological investigations into high lamb mortality. Desert Bighorn Council Transactions 26 :65–76.

Past two years Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 51 51 9
Full Text Views 297 8 0
PDF Downloads 59 3 0
 
Membership Banner
 
 
 
Affiliate Membership Banner
 
 
Research for Health Information Banner
 
 
CLOCKSS
 
 
 
Society Publishers Coalition Banner
Save