Serological survey of Coxiella burnetii at the wildlife-livestock interface in the Eastern Pyrenees, Spain

Xavier Fernández-Aguilar, Óscar Cabezón, Andreu Colom-Cadena, Santiago Lavín, Jorge Ramón López-Olvera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Fernández-Aguilar et al. Background: Coxiella burnetii is a zoonotic bacterium that infects a wide range of animal species and causes the disease Q fever. Both wild and domestic ruminants may be relevant in the epidemiology of C. burnetii infection. In order to investigate the significance of the ruminant host community in the alpine and subalpine ecosystems of the Eastern Pyrenees, Northeastern Spain, in the epidemiology of Q fever, a serological survey was performed on samples from 599 wild and 353 sympatric domestic ruminants. Results: Specific antibodies against C. burnetii were detected with a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Domestic sheep showed the highest prevalence (12.7%, CI 95% 8.6-16.9), followed by European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon) with a 6.8% prevalence (CI 95% 1.6-12.1), red deer (Cervus elaphus) with 2.4% (CI 95% 0-5.6), and cattle with a prevalence of 1.1% (CI 95% 0-3.2). No positive domestic goats, fallow deer (Dama dama), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) were detected. Sheep flock prevalence was 75% (nine of the 12 sheep flocks sampled were positive, within-flock prevalence ranging from 11.1 to 25.0%), whereas cattle herd prevalence was 11.1% (one out of the nine cattle herds sampled was positive, within-herd prevalence of 10.0%. Conclusions: Both domestic and wild ruminants from the alpine and subalpine ecosystems of the Eastern Pyrenees were exposed to C. burnetii. The higher seroprevalence in sheep and its relative abundance suggest that this species may have a major contribution to the ecology of C. burnetii. Conversely, wild ruminants do not seem to represent a relevant host community for C. burnetii maintenance in the Eastern Pyrenees.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalActa Veterinaria Scandinavica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2016


  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Livestock
  • Pyrenees
  • Q fever
  • Spain
  • Wildlife


Dive into the research topics of 'Serological survey of Coxiella burnetii at the wildlife-livestock interface in the Eastern Pyrenees, Spain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this