Q fever specific antibodies can be detected after two weeks after Coxiella burnetii infection in pregnant goats. This is important as pregnant infected goats do not excrete the Q fever bacterium.
The Central Veterinary Institute (CVI) investigated the immune response after Q fever infection in pregnant goats. The cellular immune response was poor but a strong humoral immune response was detected.
This finding is important for the early detection of infected pregnant animals as these animals are a risk for public health. In the Netherlands goats and sheep are successfully vaccinated against Q fever to control Q fever in humans after the outbreaks between 2007 and 2010.At the moment it is not clear wether the serological test can discriminate between infected and vaccinated animals. Further research will be needed. Ongoing research focuses on the immune response after C. burnetii infection in non-pregnant goats as information on this is scarce.
Hendrik IJ Roest, Jacob Post, Betty van Gelderen, Fred G van Zijderveld, Johanna MJ Rebel. 2013. Q fever in pregnant goats: humoral and cellular immune responses. Vet. Res. 44: 67.