An outbreak was investigated by Argentina health officials in the Department of Diamante, Entre Rios province where workers of a meatpacking plant demonstrated symptoms of headache myalgias, fever and cough.
Q fever caused by the Coxiella burnetii bacteria was reported in 11 people, 10 required hospitalization. The predominant symptoms were headache (64%), myalgia (64%), fever (55%) and cough (37%). The referred diagnosis was pneumonia in 36% (N=4).
All presented favorable evolution after receiving antibiotic treatment with different therapeutic schemes: ampicillin, ampicillin/sulbactam and doxycycline.
Direct contact with animal tissues and fluids could be the cause due to poor use of personal protection equipment and insufficient ventilation of some sectors of work, and conditions of moisture and potential areas where fluids could collect.
Environmental and building adaptation actions were carried out, as well as for the correct use of personal protective equipment. As part of the actions derived from the investigation of the outbreak, this document is issued to inform and raise awareness of the need to implement and monitor safety measures prevention of new outbreaks in higher risk activities and establishments.
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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Q fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii which is found worldwide. The bacteria naturally infects some animals, such as goats, sheep and cattle. C. burnetii bacteria are found in the birth products (i.e. placenta, amniotic fluid), urine, feces, and milk of infected animals. People can get infected by breathing in dust that has been contaminated by infected animal feces, urine, milk, and birth products. Some people never get sick; however those that do usually develop flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, fatigue, and muscle pain.
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