Coxiella burnetii DNA, But Not Viable Bacteria, in Dairy Products in France

Carole Eldin Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France

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Emmanouil Angelakis Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France

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Aurélie Renvoisé Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France

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Didier Raoult Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France

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Transmission by the oral route of Coxiella burnetii is controversial. Our objective was to evaluate dairy products in the transmission of Q fever. Pasteurized, unpasteurized, and thermized dairy products were tested for C. burnetii by using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction specific for IS1111 and IS30A spacers, culturing in human embryonic lung fibroblasts cells, and inoculation into BALB/c mice. We tested 201 products and C. burnetii was identified in 64%. Cow milk origin products were more frequently positive than goat or ewe products (P = 0.006 and P = 0.0001, respectively), and industrial food was more frequently positive than artisanal food (P < 0.0001). Food made from unpasteurized milk contained higher bacteria concentrations than food made from pasteurized milk (P = 0.02). All cultures were negative and mice did not show signs of illness. Farm animals are highly infected in France but consumption of cheese and yogurt does not seem to pose a public health risk for transmission of Q fever.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Didier Raoult, Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, URMITE, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, INSERM U1095, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 5 France. E-mail: dider.raoult@gmail.com

Authors' addresses: Carole Eldin, Emmanouil Angelakis, Aurélie Renvoisé, and Didier Raoult, Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, URMITE, Marseille, France, E-mails: carole.eldin@gmail.com, angelotasmanos@msn.com, aurelie.renvoise@gmail.com, and didier.raoult@gmail.com.

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