Published Date: 2009-12-19 15:00:03
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Q fever - Netherlands (15): update
Archive Number: 20091219.4286
Q FEVER - NETHERLANDS (15): UPDATE
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 18 Dec 2009
Source: Dutch Ministry of Agriculture Press release [trans. Mod.AS, edited]
Total ban on animal introduction
Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) Gerda Verburg has
decided, in relation to Q fever, to declare a full ban on the
transportation of dairy goats and dairy sheep. Until now, all
milk-producing sheep and goat farms, including more than 50 animals, have
been allowed to introduce vaccinated animals. In line with the wish of the
House [Parliament], Minister Verburg has now prohibited the introduction of
animals into all milk-producing sheep and goat farms. This applies to both
vaccinated and non-vaccinated animals. Starting Fri 18 Dec 2009, 0700 pm,
until 1 Jul 2010, transportation of such animals is allowed only to
fattening farms/holdings or directly to slaughterhouses.
Date: Sat 19 Dec 2009
Source: BN/De Stem [trans. Mod.AS, abridged]
Live nativity without sheep because of the Q-fever
For the 5th year there has been a live Christmas display in the barn behind
the nursing home in the Volckaert, Dongen [North Brabant, southern
The event includes musical entertainment by various choirs and visitors
admire the thickly wrapped Christmas baby, asleep in the manger. Mary,
Joseph, the shepherds, and the angel stand around, rubbing hands while an
accordionist plays Christmas songs. Elly Haest was, 5 years ago, the
initiator: "I came here during the mornings before Christmas, saw them
building the stall and thought that something ought to be done to liven it
up. Each year, the group is ready to portray the Christmas play. This year,
no sheep, because of Q-fever."
[The new decision of Minister Verburg to totally ban introduction of dairy
goats and sheep into milk-producing plants is explained in the Letter to
the Parliament of 18 Dec 2009. This letter includes also other revisions in
the current policy, such as the postponement of the destruction of male
goats and sheep (bucks and rams) in the infected flocks, initially due to
start on Mon 22 Dec 2009. The revised decision will allow repeated
individual tests of such animals to distinguish between infected and
non-infected animals on infected farms.
Another point in the letter addresses the ban upon establishment of new
dairy goats or sheep plants, or increase in the size of existing flocks,
implemented until July 2010. The full text of the letter (in Dutch) is
available at the above website.
A map and a detailed list (full addresses) of all 60 infected goat farms in
the Netherlands, updated 18 Dec 2009, are available at
A total of 55 of the infected farms were, reportedly, declared infected on
12 Nov 2009; 5 additional dairy goat farms were declared infected on 17 Dec
2009. No sheep farms are among them.
"Information from the Netherlands on the Q fever situation" has been put as
the 1st agenda item to be discussed during the next meeting of EU's
Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, Section Animal
Health and Welfare, due to meet in Brussels on Tue 12 Jan 2010.
The Dutch reporting on Q fever to OIE's WAHID system, as included in the
annual reports, was as follows:
2005: disease present, not notifiable, 1 new outbreak in cattle. Human
disease: 5 cases.
2006: disease present, notifiable (cattle, sheep, goats), no quantitative
data. Human disease: 12 cases.
2007: disease present, notifiable as above, 1 new outbreak, 9 total
outbreaks (1 cattle, 7 goats, 1 sheep). Human disease: 127 cases.
2008: disease present, notifiable (sheep, goats), 12 new outbreaks (1
cattle, 5 goats, 1 sheep). Human disease: 1014 cases, 1 death.
2009: no semi-annual report available yet.
For comparison: Germany reported 109 outbreaks in animals in 2007, 157 in
2008; Switzerland, respectively, 59 and 65. No data on human disease
incidence in these countries during these years are currently available in
WAHID. The geographical distribution, the proximity to human population,
and the density of animal and human populations around the foci are not
known to us and would be interesting to note. In any case, (poor)
correlation between reported Q fever outbreaks in animals and its incidence
in humans, as observed in the Netherlands, deserves further study. In
addition: it would be interesting to obtain data on the rate of subclinical
(seropositive) cases in the human population, on top of clinical cases.
According to Article 1.1.3. of OIE's Terrestrial Animal Health Code,
Veterinary Authorities should notify "evidence of change in the
epidemiology of a listed disease (including host range, pathogenicity,
strain) in particular if there is a zoonotic impact." The Dutch authorities
may give consideration to the question if the major Q fever event falls
within this requirement. - Mod.AS]