Epidemiological factors associated with the exposure of cattle to Coxiella burnetii in the Madrid region of Spain

J. Alvarez, A. Perez, F. O. Mardones, M. Pérez-Sancho, T. García-Seco, E. Pagés, F. Mirat, R. Díaz, J. Carpintero, L. Domínguez

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38 Scopus citations


Domestic ruminants are considered to be the major source of Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever. Even though Q fever is considered to be present worldwide, its distribution in many areas and countries remains unknown. Here, a serological assay was used to estimate the seroprevalence of C. burnetii in cattle in the Madrid region of Spain, to assess its spatial distribution, and to identify risk factors associated with positive results. Ten animals from each of 110 herds (n= 1100) were randomly selected and analyzed using an ELISA test. In addition, epidemiological information, at both the herd and individual level, was collected. Variables for which an association with test results was detected in a bivariate analysis were included as predictors (main effects) in a multivariable logistic regression model.Herd and individual seroprevalences were 30% (95% CI = 22.2-39.1) and 6.76% (95% CI = 5.42-8.41), respectively, and a strong spatial dependence was identified at the first neighbour level using the Cuzick-Edwards test. Production type (dairy >beef >bullfighting) and age of animals (old vs. young) were the only variables significantly associated (P<. 0.05) with positive serological results at the herd and individual levels, respectively. These results indicate that cattle are exposed to C. burnetii in the Madrid region The high herd seroprevalence found in dairy herds (75%) indicates a higher risk of infection (probably for management reasons) whereas no C. burnetii positive bullfighting herds were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Madrid
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factors


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