THE PREVALENCE OF COXIELLA BURNETII IN BEEF AND DAIRY CATTLE COTYLEDONS
Miller, Megan Rae
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To assess the potential public health risk of the zoonosis Coxiella burnetii in cattle (coxiellosis in cattle and Q fever in humans) we assessed the overall prevalence in beef and dairy cattle. We extracted DNA and performed real-time PCR on 286 cotyledons from both beef (n= 150) and dairy (n= 136) cattle from individual live operations and a single beef processing plant. These locations included Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona, and Nebraska. Prevalence of C. burnetii detected was 5.6%. Chi-square analysis indicated that prevalence did not differ (p=0.75) between beef and dairy cattle. Likewise concentration of bacterial cells per gram of cotyledonary tissue was similar (p=0.36) for beef and dairy cattle. Of the 16 positive samples, 13 were obtained from a beef processing plant. This indicates a great necessity to wear personal protective equipment in processing plants to prevent the indirect, direct, or airborne transmission of infectious particles to humans while working with livestock animals. Furthermore, any person working with livestock animals on a day to day basis should wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to prevent the transmission of C. burnetii.