By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Health Department of the Basque Government has reported at least five cases of Q fever in the Baltzola caves since last December, almost all of them suffered by climbers, a group that uses the interior of these cavities to train along of the whole year.

Image/Robert Herriman

The outbreak of this disease forced this Friday to close access to this natural space located in Dima and also very visited by families and hikers on festive days.

As the mayor of the town, Josu Gorospe, told the media, it was “on Friday morning when we received an email from the Health Department of the Basque Government telling us to proceed with the closure due to the appearance of Q fever cases.” For this reason, signs have been placed at the two entrances to this karst complex, from the Indusi area and from the San Lorenzo hermitage.

The Directorate of Public Health is investigating the exact cause of the outbreak, although Josu Gorospe told the media that “it is possible that the origin could come from the animals that roam free in the area , which take refuge in the caves where they make their needs and leave remains. ”

While trying to find out exactly what happened “the space will remain closed until further notice,” said the mayor on a time horizon that is currently unknown. He also specified that “it is possible that the whole place has to be disinfected ” a task that will have to determine whose competence it is. In the cases of Q fever that were detected years ago in several employees of the Artigas Mechanical Biological Treatment (TMB) plant, it was the company that carried out the disinfection. The last two cases in the plant were detected last March.