PLoS One 2019 19;14(2):e0211781. Epub 2019 Feb 19.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Research Centre for Emerging and Reemerging infectious diseases, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.
Background: Q fever is a zoonotic disease of great public health importance in Iran. This disease is presented with high phase I antibody development in chronic and high phase II antibody in the acute form of illness. This study was conducted to evaluate the seroprevalence of Q fever among high-risk occupations in the Ilam province in Western Iran.
Methods And Findings: In this cross-sectional study, 367 sera samples were collected from five groups comprised of animal husbandry workers, farmers, butchers, slaughterhouse workers, and park rangers. The collected sera were tested for IgG antibodies against Coxiella burnetii using ELISA. The seroprevalence of antibodies against C. burnetii in phase I and II was 24.38% and 26.37%, respectively (i.e., 32.42% overall). Low educational level, living in rural areas, keeping sheep/goats, ages older than 50 years, and a history of arthropod bites positively correlated with increased risk of Q fever infection. Animal husbandry workers (45.13%) were at higher risk of contracting Q fever compared with other occupations in the study (17.11%).
Conclusions: High seroprevalence of C. burnetii among high-risk occupations is a serious challenge in the Ilam province. In addition, the high seroprevalence of endemic Q fever in rural and nomadic areas and a higher concentration of occupations who are directly engaged with livestock demonstrate the critical need for preventive medicine education and training in regards to mitigating risk for disease contraction in susceptible groups.