Q fever, caused by Coxiella burnetii, is a worldwide zoonosis that affects not wild animals but domestic animals throughout the world, except in New Zealand. Domestic ruminants are considered to be a major infection source of Q fever in humans. However, few studies on the prevalence of Q fever in humans or animals in Korea have been conducted. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the seroprevalence of Q fever in meat cattle and deer. Blood samples were collected from 1634 ruminants: 1000 cattle, 604 wapiti, and 30 sika deer. The blood samples were analyzed with CHEKIT Q fever ELISA kits. Thirteen of 1000 (1.3%) cattle, 10 of 604 (about 1.7%) wapiti, and 0 of 30 (0%) sika deer had antibodies against C. burnetii. The prevalence of Q fever in this study was quite low. However, the public health implications of these findings are important, because they indicate that seropositive animals that are asymptomatic may be shedding C. burnetii consistently. This condition could increase the risk of Q fever infection in Korea, especially because many Koreans habitually consume raw meat and drink deer blood.
Key words: Q fever, Coxiella burnetii, cattle, deer.
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