In Netherlands, six die of goat flu

18 12 2009

In Holland, six die of goat flu

Wed, 16 Dec 2009 15:06:28 GMT
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While many countries in the world are still struggling with swine flu, a new epidemic of goat flu or Q-fever has struck the Netherlands.

Q-fever, caused by Coxiella burnetii bacteria, can be secreted into the milk, urine and feces of infected animals; the amniotic fluid and placenta of pregnant goats or sheep which experience spontaneous abortions, however, are the main transmitters of the disease.

High fever, severe headaches, chills, confusion, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and general illness are the main symptoms of goat flu. The disease mainly affects the lungs and liver.

The acute version of the disease lasts for up to 14 days, but it may remain up to two years in those experiencing the chronic type of the disease.

Close contact with infected goats, however, are considered as the main transmission source.

Latest figures have revealed that the disease has already infected 2,300 individuals in the country, claiming the lives of six others.

All six individuals, who died of Q-fever, are believed to have had underlying health conditions.

No recorded cases of the transmission of goat flu from human to human have been reported in the region, health officials stressed.

The large number of animals per farm along with the heavy density of the Dutch human population is the main reasons contributing to the severe spread of the disease in the region.

To contain the disease, Dutch officials have taken measures such as the vaccinations of farms holding more than 50 sheep or goats and restricting transport to and from contaminated farms.

They are also planning to slaughter all infected pregnant goats, which carry the bacteria in high concentrations, particularly those living in farms severely hit by the disease.

PKH/HGH


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