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Treatment of Q fever in beef cattle in Queensland, Australia : historical context, present scenario and future perspectives
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by D Acharya, Andrew Taylor-RobinsonAndrew Taylor-Robinson
The intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii is a dual pathogen of domestic ruminants and humans. Outbreaks of infection in cattle may have public health implications for the resident population of regional and rural Queensland, home to the Australian beef industry. The ensuing disease, so-called Q fever, causes abortion in livestock, and, if transmitted to humans by inhalation of aerosols, either a mild yet debilitating acute flu-like illness or, rarely, chronic life-threating respiratory complications. The recent recognition of high seroprevalence rates in putatively low-risk communities has compounded a growing concern over inadequate implementation of effective disease control measures. Concurrently, in order to meet increasing present and future consumer demands for high-quality beef, cattle farmers are seeking optimized reproductive performance and rapid weight gain. In vitro fertilization of elite animals is considered to represent the best option to introduce such highly desirable genetic traits into commercial cattle herds. In so doing, resistance to C. burnetii infection may similarly be engineered in cattle by the advancement of genome editing technology.