Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Prevalence of Coxiella burnetii seropositivity and shedding in farm, pet and feral cats and associated risk factors in farm cats in Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

Cats represent a potential source of Coxiella burnetii, the aetiological agent of Q fever in humans. The prevalence and risk factors of C. burnetii infection in farm, pet and feral cats were studied in Quebec, Canada, using a cross-sectional study. Serum samples were tested using a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the presence of antibodies against C. burnetii, whereas rectal swabs were assayed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for the molecular detection of the bacteria. Potential risk factors for farm cats were investigated using clinical examinations, questionnaires and results from a concurrent study on C. burnetii farm status. A total of 184 cats were tested: 59 from ruminant farms, 73 pets and 52 feral cats. Among farm cats, 2/59 (3.4%) were ELISA-positive, 3/59 (5.1%) were ELISA-doubtful and 1/59 (1.7%) was qPCR-positive. All pets and feral cats were negative to C. burnetii ELISA and qPCR. Farm cat positivity was associated with a positive C. burnetii status on the ruminant farm (prevalence ratio = 7.6, P = 0.03). Our results suggest that although pet and feral cats do not seem to pose a great C. burnetii risk to public health, more active care should be taken when in contact with cats from ruminant farms.