Q fever outbreak in Cheltenham, United Kingdom, in 2007 and the use of dispersion modelling to investigate the possibility of airborne spread

A. Wallensten, P. Moore, H. Webster, C. Johnson, G. van der Burgt, G. Pritchard, Johanne Ellis-Iversen, I. Oliver

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Abstract

We describe the investigation of an outbreak of Q fever in the town of Cheltenham, England. The outbreak was detected in June 2007, and prospective and retrospective case finding identified 30 confirmed or probable human cases. The investigation identified windborne spread of Coxiella burnetii from nearby sheep farms as the most likely source of infection. A telephone survey was conducted to identify risk practices at local farms. Subsequently the atmospheric dispersion model NAME was used to identify whether air from the identified farms with high risk practices had been carried into Cheltenham town centre during the risk period. Three high risk farms were identified and the modelling showed that air from all of these farms was carried over Cheltenham in the estimated risk period. The investigation resulted in an information campaign to farmers and production of improved advice for livestock farmers on reducing the risks of transmitting Q fever to humans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEurosurveillance
Volume15
Issue number12
Number of pages7
ISSN1025-496X
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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