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Revista Médica del Uruguay

Print version ISSN 0303-3295On-line version ISSN 1688-0390


RABAZA, Ana et al. Q fever: historical review of human cases in Uruguay. A complementary approach from the medical and veterinarian sciences. Rev. Méd. Urug. [online]. 2022, vol.38, n.2, e401.  Epub June 01, 2022. ISSN 0303-3295.

Q fever is a globally distributed zoonosis caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. Bovines, sheep and goats are the most frequent source of infection in humans, and it is mandatory for the latter to report the disease to the Ministry of Public Health. We reviewed the literature describing cases of Q fever in humans in Uruguay, focusing on epidemiological characteristics, and we discussed the diagnostic tests locally available. Nine published studies were included in the review, as well as the information in the professional diseases registry. 2.715 people with a suspicion of Q fever were collectively analyzed between 1956-2019, 959 (55.3%) of them being seropositive. Diagnosis were based on serology, clinical examination and/or a history of exposure while working. Epidemiologically, the cattle or material originating in it were considered as the most probable sources of exposure in most cases. Depending on the context cases arose, which were not systematically reported, they were mainly caused by exposure to sheep and cows in meat processing plants or in the meat chain (positive/evaluated: 863/1540; seropositive or symptomatic: 585); and to a lesser extent dairy cattle (milk sector (positive/evaluated: 20/58; symptomatic seropositive: 17) and diagnostic laboratory (positive/evaluated: 2/4; symptomatic seropositive: 1)) or wild ruminants (positive/evaluated: 25/117; symptomatic seropositive: 17). Hyperthermia, headaches and sweating were reported. In all cases inhalation was adopted as the source of infection. Today, there are no PCR tests to detect C. burnetii in humans available locally, what constitutes a limitation to diagnosis, in particular in early stages. Interdisciplinary collaboration between animal and human health professionals is key to approach this zoonosis.

Keywords : Public health; Zoonoses; Q fever; Coxiella burnetiid; One health; Uruguay.

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