Published Date: 2007-07-13 11:00:03
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Q fever - Australia (SA) (02): abattoir
Archive Number: 20070713.2244
Q FEVER - AUSTRALIA (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (02): ABATTOIR
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 13 Jul 2007
Source: Australian Broadcasting Company [edited]
Another case of Q fever has been confirmed in the South Australian
Riverland. An outbreak of the disease has been linked to a Waikerie
goat abattoir. The Health Department says another person at Waikerie
has contracted the illness, taking to 5 the number of recent cases.
Q fever is carried by animals and can cause flu-like symptoms in
people. The abattoir linked to the outbreak has suspended its operations.
Loxton Waikerie Council says the abattoir is operating outside a 1997
development application, which allows for the slaughter of emus and
ostriches. The Council had given the abattoir 21 days to stop
processing goats, a deadline that expires next week [16-22 Jul 2007].
The abattoir's operator says the facility has been used to process
goat, sheep, and cattle for the past century.
[Some forms of _Coxiella burnetii_ can be resistant to heat, drying,
and many common disinfectants. These features enable the bacterium to
survive for long periods in the environment and spread via aerosol
for some distance. This very stable form of _C. burnetii_ is
associated with compact small-cell variants of the organism that are
produced during standard replication (along with the less resistant
large-cell form) and are metabolically dormant and spore-like (1). An
earlier outbreak of infection in 51 persons in Scotland, UK, was tied
to a meat processing plant and appeared to spread via aerosol for at
least 0.5 mile (0.8 km) (ProMED-mail 20060825.2394 Q fever, meat
processing plant - UK (Scotland)(02)).
The Q fever organism is a Category B bioterrorism agent and, in fact,
although not thought to be related to bioterrorism, was spread by
mail in a post office in the UK in 1987 (2).
Ongoing drought in the area may produce more cases related to easier
aerosolization of the organism's infectious form.
A map of the island country showing the location of South Australia
can be found at <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Australia>.
1. Norlander L: Q fever epidemiology and pathogenesis. Microbes
Infect 2000; 2: 417-24.
2. Winner SJ, Eglin RP, Moore VI, Mayon-White RT: An outbreak of Q
fever affecting postal workers in Oxfordshire. J Infect 1987; 14:
255-61. - Mod.LL]