Detection of Coxiella burnetii and equine herpesvirus 1, but not Leptospira spp. or Toxoplasma gondii, in cases of equine abortion in Australia - a 25 year retrospective study
AuthorAkter, R; Legione, A; Sansom, FM; El-Hage, CM; Hartley, CA; Gilkerson, JR; Devlin, JM
Source TitlePLOS ONE
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sLegione, Alistair; Gilkerson, James; El-Hage, Charles; Devlin, Joanne; Hartley, Carol
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsAkter, R., Legione, A., Sansom, F. M., El-Hage, C. M., Hartley, C. A., Gilkerson, J. R. & Devlin, J. M. (2020). Detection of Coxiella burnetii and equine herpesvirus 1, but not Leptospira spp. or Toxoplasma gondii, in cases of equine abortion in Australia - a 25 year retrospective study. PLOS ONE, 15 (5), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233100.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7250447
Equine abortion is a cause of severe economic loss to the equine industry. Equine herpesvirus 1 is considered a primary cause of infectious abortion in horses, however other infectious agents can also cause abortion. Abortions due to zoonotic pathogens have implications for both human and animal health. We determined the prevalence of Coxiella burnetii, Leptospira spp. and Toxoplasma gondii in 600 aborted equine foetal tissues that were submitted to our diagnostic laboratories at the University of Melbourne from 1994 to 2019. Using qPCR we found that the prevalence of C. burnetii was 4%. The highest annual incidence of C. burnetii was observed between 1997-2003 and 2016-2018. The prevalence of C. burnetii in Victoria and New South Wales was 3% and 6% respectively. All the samples tested negative for Leptospira spp. and Toxoplasma gondii DNA. Equine herpesvirus 1 DNA was detected at a prevalence of 3%. This study has provided evidence for the presence of C. burnetii in equine aborted foetal tissues in Australia, but the role of C. burnetii as potential cause of abortion in Australia requires further investigation. C. burnetii is a zoonotic disease agent that causes the disease 'Q fever' in humans. We recommend that appropriate protective measures should be considered when handling material associated with equine abortions to reduce the risk of becoming infected with C. burnetii.
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