Zoonoses 2021 - International Symposium on Zoonoses Research, October 13 - 15, 2021, online:

 Due to the ongoing corona pandemic and the associated planning uncertainties regarding the implementation of face-to-face events, the symposium will take place online.
It will be under the guiding theme "From disease ecology to SARS-CoV-2".


Preliminary Program

73rd Annual Conference of the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology e. V.:

 The conference will take place online from September 12. - 14, 2021.

Main topics are:

  • Vaccination
  • Bacteria & Genotoxity
  • Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) / Pandemic Preparedness
  • InfectControl2020
  • Digitality
  • Science and Politics

More Information

High Prevalence and New Genotype of Coxiella burnetii in Ticks Infesting Camels in Somalia:

 Coxiella burnetii is the causative agent of Q fever. It can infect animals, humans, and birds, as well as ticks, and it has a worldwide geographical distribution. To better understand the epidemiology of C. burnetii in Somalia, ticks infesting camels were collected from five different regions, including Bari, Nugaal, Mudug, Sool, and Sanaag, between January and March 2018.

Collected ticks were tested for C. burnetii and Coxiella-like endosymbiont DNA by using IS1111, icd, and Com1-target PCR assays. Moreover, sequencing of the 16S-rRNA was conducted. Molecular characterization and typing were done by adaA-gene analysis and plasmid-type identification. Further typing was carried out by 14-marker Multi-Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeats (MLVA/VNTR) analysis. The investigated ticks (n = 237) were identified as Hyalomma spp. (n = 227, 95.8%), Amblyomma spp. (n = 8, 3.4%), and Ripicephalus spp. (n = 2, 0.8%), and 59.1% (140/237) of them were positive for Coxiella spp. While Sanger sequencing and plasmid-type identification revealed a C. burnetii that harbours the QpRS-plasmid, MLVA/VNTR genotyping showed a new genotype which was initially named D21. In conclusion, this is the first report of C. burnetii in ticks in Somalia. The findings denote the possibility that C. burnetii is endemic in Somalia. Further epidemiological studies investigating samples from humans, animals, and ticks within the context of “One Health” are warranted.

 Abstract taken from Dimitrios Frangoulidis; Claudia Kahlhofer; Ahmed Shire Said; Abdinasir Yusuf Osman; Lidia Chitimia-Dobler; Yassir Adam Shuaib
Pathogens 2021, Volume 10, Issue 6, 741


A Straightforward Hypoxic Cell Culture Method Suitable for Standard Incubators:

 We present a new and straightforward method by which standard cell culture plates can be sealed off from ambient air and be placed under controlled hypoxic cell culture conditions without costly or highly specialized materials. The method was established on a murine cell culture system using the dendritic cell line JAWS II but can be readily adapted to other cell cultures. The procedure was designed to be easy to implement in cell culture laboratories with standard incubators and requires only readily available materials, resources, and consumables, such as six-well plates, degassed culture medium, CoCl2, a vacuum sealer, etc., and no further complicated laboratory equipment. The simple hypoxic cell culture method presented here is technically reliable and experimentally safe. As it can be performed in any standard incubator, it is suitable for use at both low and higher biosafety levels.

 Straightforward Hypoxic Cell Culture Method

Abstract taken from Svea Matthiesen, Rico Jahnke, Michael R. Knittler, Methods Protoc. 2021, 4(2), 25;


The Prevalence of Coxiella burnetii in Hard Ticks in Europe and Their Role in Q Fever Transmission Revisited - A Systematic Review

The zoonosis Q fever is caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Besides the main transmission route via inhalation of contaminated aerosols, ticks are discussed as vectors since the first isolation of the pathogen from a Dermacentor andersonii tick. The rare detection of C. burnetii in ticks and the difficult differentiation of C. burnetii from Coxiella-like endosymbionts (CLEs) are questioning the relevance of ticks in the epidemiology of Q fever.

In this review, literature databases were systematically searched for recent prevalence studies concerning C. burnetii in ticks in Europe and experimental studies evaluating the vector competence of tick species. A total of 72 prevalence studies were included and evaluated regarding DNA detection methods and collection methods, country, and tested tick species. Specimens of more than 25 different tick species were collected in 23 European countries. Overall, an average prevalence of 4.8% was determined. However, in half of the studies, no Coxiella-DNA was detected. In Southern European countries, a significantly higher prevalence was observed, possibly related to the abundance of different tick species here, namely Hyalomma spp. and Rhipicephalus spp. In comparison, a similar proportion of studies used ticks sampled by flagging and dragging or tick collection from animals, under 30% of the total tick samples derived from the latter. There was no significant difference in the various target genes used for the molecular test. In most of the studies, no distinction was made between C. burnetii and CLEs. The application of specific detection methods and the confirmation of positive results are crucial to determine the role of ticks in Q fever transmission. Only two studies were available, which assessed the vector competence of ticks for C. burnetii in the last 20 years, demonstrating the need for further research.

Abstract taken from: Sophia Körner, Gustavo R Makert, Sebastian Ulbert, Martin Pfeffer, Katja Mertens-Scholz, The Prevalence of Coxiella burnetii in Hard Ticks in Europe and Their Role in Q Fever Transmission Revisited - A Systematic Review, Front Vet Sci. 2021 Apr 26; 8: 655715


Humoral immune response to Q fever vaccination of three sheep flocks naturally pre-infected with Coxiella burnetii:

 Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii; Coxiella-infected ruminants are the main reservoir shedding the pathogen during abortion or parturition through birth products. Germany has a long history of small-scale Q fever epidemics in the human population mostly associated with lambing sheep. Therefore, fast and efficient control measures are essentially required to prevent transmission from infected sheep flocks to humans.

In our present study, three sheep flocks were vaccinated with an inactivated C. burnetii phase I vaccine after a field infection with C. burnetii was diagnosed. Serum samples and vaginal swabs were collected at different time points to evaluate the extent of the outbreak and the consequences of the vaccination. The serum samples were examined by phase-specific IgG phase I and phase II ELISAs and a commercial ELISA, simultaneously detecting both phase variations. Moreover, vaginal swabs were analysed by qPCR. The fourth flock with no Q fever history and non-vaccinated animals were used as a control group to evaluate the phase-specific ELISAs.

The inactivated C. burnetii phase I vaccine induced an IgG phase II response and boosted the humoral immune reaction against natural preinfections. Furthermore, the longevity of vaccine-induced antibodies seems to depend on previous infections. Around 16 months after primary vaccination, mainly IgG phase I antibodies were detectable. Vaccination did not prevent shedding at the next lambing season. Most interestingly, the phasespecific ELISAs revealed more C. burnetii positive animals than the blended ELISA-Assay. Taken together, phase-specific ELISAs are suitable tools to provide insights into natural- or vaccine-induced humoral immune responses to C. burnetii in sheep.

Original Abstract, © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Source: Benjamin U. Bauer, Michael R. Knittler, T. Louise Prüfer, Annika Wolf, Svea Matthiesen, Martin Runge, Martin Ganter (2021) Humoral immune response to Q fever vaccination of three sheep flocks naturally pre-infected with Coxiella burnetii. Vaccine, Volume 39, Issue 10, 5 March 2021, Pages 1499-1507,

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Concept of an Active Surveillance System for Q Fever in German Small Ruminants - Conflicts Between Best Practices and Feasibility

Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Inhalation of contaminated dust particles or aerosols originating from animals (esp. small ruminants) is the main source of human infection. Hence, an active early warning system for Q fever in German small ruminant livestock was conceptualized to prevent human infections.

First, we describe the best practice for establishing this system before evaluating its feasibility, as the combination of both evokes conflicts. Vaginal swabs from all husbandry systems with a focus on reproductive females should pooled and investigated by PCR to detect C. burnetii-shedding animals. Multistage risk-based sampling shall be carried out at the flock level and within-flock level. At the flock level, all flocks that are at risk to transmit the pathogen to the public must be sampled. At the within-flock level, all primi- and multiparous females after lambing must be tested in order to increase the probability of identifying a positive herd. Sampling should be performed during the main lambing period and before migration in residential areas.

Furthermore, individual animals should be tested before migration or exhibition to ensure a negative status. If a flock tests positive in at least one individual sample, then flock-specific preventive measures should be implemented. This approach implies huge financial costs (sample testing, action/control measures). Hence, taking the step to develop more feasible and affordable preventive measures, e.g., vaccinating small ruminant flocks, should replace testing wherever justifiable.

Abstract taken from: Winter F, Schoneberg C, Wolf A, Bauer BU, Prüfer TL, Fischer SF, Gerdes U, Runge M, Ganter M and Campe A (2021) Concept of an Active Surveillance System for Q Fever in German Small Ruminants — Conflicts Between Best Practices and Feasibility. Front. Vet. Sci. 8:623786. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.623786

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An outbreak of Q fever has been registered in Gabrovo, a Bulgarian city. More than 20 people that were initially tested for coronavirus were confirmed positive for Q fever. This was announced at the briefing on SARS-CoV2 pandemic by the Bulgarian national health inspector Prof. Todor Kantardzhiev. The patients are veterinarians and staff of 2 cow farms and one sheep farm. Prof. Kantardzhiev assured that the necessary measures will be taken to limit the infection.
(Shortened and adapted from: ProMED Digest, Vol 95, Issue 74)

News from May 19, 2020
Source: Sofia News Agency/


Q fever outbreak in La Rioja, a Northern province of Spain – Hospitalization of 6 patients

A total of 9 people have been treated in Health Centers of La Rioja for an outbreak of Q fever, and 3 of them were admitted, according to various local media. In addition, 3 citizens of the Basque Country, specifically from Biscay, were also admitted with Q fever, and a 4th person was waiting for bacteriological results at the time the news was compiled. The patients would have acquired the disease after a visit to La Rioja, where they would have been infected by having contact with infected animals. They spent a weekend in La Rioja, and all of them, during a rural stay, maintained direct contact with newborn goats. Recently, the Valencian Ministry of Health reported the existence of another outbreak of Q fever in Villajoyosa (Alicante), with 6 cases declared, all of them now in good health. (Shortened and adapted from: ProMED Digest, Vol 90, Issue 6

News from August December 2, 2019


Q fever outbreak in Albstadt Taiflingen


News from August 22, 2019


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