Understanding Q Fever Risk to Humans in Minnesota Through the Analysis of Spatiotemporal Trends

Julio Alvarez, Tory Whitten, Adam J. Branscum, Teresa Garcia-Seco, Jeff B. Bender, Joni M Scheftel, Andres Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Q fever is a widely distributed, yet, neglected zoonotic disease, for which domestic ruminants are considered the main reservoirs in some countries. There are still many gaps in our knowledge of its epidemiology, and the source of sporadic cases is often not determined. In this study, we show how Q fever surveillance data in combination with information routinely collected by government agencies in Minnesota during 1997 to 2015 can be used to characterize patterns of occurrence of Q fever illnesses and detect variables potentially associated with increased human illness. Cluster analysis and Bayesian spatial regression modeling revealed the presence of areas in Southern Minnesota at higher risk of Q fever. The number of sheep flocks at the county level helped to explain the observed number of human cases, while no association with the cattle or goat population was observed. Our results provide information about the heterogeneous spatial distribution of risk of Q fever in Minnesota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by the Academic Health Center Faculty Research Development Grant Program (FRD no. 16.36). Authors are grateful to Dr. Stacey Schwaben-lander for providing information on the livestock population in Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Q fever
  • United States
  • livestock
  • sheep
  • spatiotemporal analysis
  • zoonoses


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