Coxiella burnetii seroprevalence, risk factors, and health hazards in sheep and goats in Upper Egypt

Authors: Mostafa M.M. Attia, Hassan Y.A.H. Mahmoud, Alsagher O. Ali, and Ragab M. Fereig

Ger. J. Vet. Res 2024. vol. 4, Iss. 1 pp:23-31


Query fever (Q fever) or coxiellosis is a serious bacterial infection caused by Coxiella (C.)  burnetii and affects various animals and humans. Clinically, Q fever ranges from various degrees of fever to abortion, either in infected animals or humans. Such infection is especially important in cattle and small ruminants industry, particularly sheep and goats. Thus, the current study aimed to recognize the prevalence of specific antibodies against C. burnetii in serum samples collected from sheep and goats in Sohag governorate, Upper Egypt, using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The overall seroprevalence was found against C. burnetii (25.6%; 56/219), subdivided as 22.8% (23/101) in sheep and 28% (33/118) in goats. Animals used for this study are representative of different small ruminants (sheep and goats), age (various ages), sexes (males and females), locations (different localities in Sohag governorate), physiological and pathological conditions, and many other factors related to animals, farm, and the environment. Female animals exhibited a higher rate of C. burnetii antibodies than males (p = 0.0637). Also, females in the dry period showed a higher seropositive rate than those pregnant females (p < 0.0001). In addition, the breeding system was reported as a risk factor for infection because animals bred in smallholders demonstrated a lower prevalence rate than those reared in individual breeding (p= 0.010) and mass farming (p= 0.006). Clinical and biochemical variables were estimated to recognize the health impact of seropositivity. Seropositive animals exhibited marked alterations in the selected clinical parameters and alanine transaminase (ALT) compared to the seronegative ones. Determining the exact occurrence of Q fever in sheep and goats might assist in developing a control policy for this infection and thus improve the income of the small ruminants industry and protect humans from infection.


Q fever, Coxiella burnetii, ELISA, Antibodies, Egypt, Ruminants


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