Disease from farmer to soldier… how are they connected?

By Azureen Erdman

You might already know there are a number of diseases that you can get from your farm animals. One such disease is known as Q fever, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Though your animals might appear healthy, shedding can occur through the fetal membranes, placenta, milk, urine, and feces. Manifestation of this disease in your animals could be seen with late-term abortions, stillbirths, retained placentas, endometritis, and infertility.  It is believed only 40 percent of humans exposed to Q fever will show any signs, and a majority of those who show signs will just appear with “flu-like” symptoms for a few days. Two to five percent of exposed humans will develop respiratory infections.  More symptoms can manifest from this disease, however rare. Contact with a sheep, goat, cow, or cat during the birth process is the most common source of disease for humans. Once this bacterium is shed into the environment, it can survive on its own and be spread by wind to infect a human with no contact to livestock. In fact, multiple reports of Q fever have been seen within various armed forces groups around the world.

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One Health Headlines: Friday, January 23, 2015

In this week’s One Health roundup: Avian influenza dominated the One Health headlines this week, with human fatalities from H5N1 being reported in Egypt and China. Meanwhile, H5N1 is spreading quickly through Nigeria, and the first U.S. case of H5N1 was reported in a duck in Washington state, although the strain is genetically different from the strain that’s circulating in Egypt and China. It does not appear to have infected any people or domestic poultry.

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One Health Headlines: Friday, January 16, 2015

In this week’s One Health roundup: Egypt reports the country’s second human fatality from H5N1 bird flu this year; five cases of animals contracting plague have been reported in New Mexico since November; new research on whipworms has implications for human health and animal conservation; and much more.

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One Health Headlines: Friday, December 5, 2014

In this week’s One Health roundup: U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine awarded $100 million to lead program to predict and prevent pandemic threats; Understanding why bats harbor Ebola, Marburg, SARS, and other diverse pathogens can help researchers stymie deadly emerging diseases; 3 Egyptians have died from H5N1 bird flu infections in the past week; and much more.

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Veterinarians at the front lines of disease prevention

On its website, The National Journal takes a look at the One Health concept and the role veterinarians are playing in combating epidemics and preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases. It’s worth a read, and it was even posted on Public Health Thank You Day, a day designed to recognize everyone who works in public health — including veterinarians, who make important contributions to the field.

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