Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Real-time quantitative PCR-based detection of Coxiella burnetii in unpasteurized cow's milk sold for human consumption.

Abstract

Coxiella burnetii is a zoonotic pathogen with a worldwide distribution that is responsible for Q fever in humans. It is a highly infectious bacterium that can be transmitted from cattle to humans through the consumption of unpasteurized milk. We report the molecular identification of C. burnetii in raw cow's milk being sold directly for human consumption in Brazil without official inspection or pasteurization. One hundred and twelve samples of raw milk were analysed by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), and C. burnetii was detected in 3.57% (4/112) of the samples at a concentration ranging from 125 to 404 bacteria per millilitre. The identification of this zoonotic pathogen in raw milk sold directly for human consumption is a public health concern since C. burnetii can be transmitted through the oral route. This result indicates that health education and other preventive measures should be officially implemented in Brazil to prevent the spread of infection. To our knowledge, this is the first qPCR-based detection of C. burnetii in raw milk samples from cows sold in Brazil that do not undergo official inspection or pasteurization.