The Q fever Q map and farmer Q pack were launched at BCVA Congress (19 to 21 October 2023) with the Q map featuring data from 274 Q test BTM (bulk tank milk) PCR samples, 217 of which have been submitted to date in 2023.
The Q test research has identified that 50 percent of herds tested positive for Q fever.
The farmer Q pack is aimed at farmers whose dairy herds have been diagnosed with Q fever.
It features a leaflet and poster covering comprehensive information on the disease such as the clinical signs to look out for, regulatory reporting, how the disease affects human health and what can be done to reduce the risk of Q fever impacting a herd.
This includes the important role of vaccination to break the circulation of the bacterium that causes the disease, Coxiella burnetii, and decrease shedding.
Tom Angel, BvetMed, PGDipVCP, MRCVS, veterinary surgeon at Synergy Farm Health, comments: “The bulk milk Q fever testing we have been undertaking in our practice has returned positive results in approximately 80 percent of farms sampled.
“The challenge for vets is assessing the impact this disease is having on farm.
“In some cases, where other causes have been excluded, signs such as increased pregnancy losses and still birth rates have been identified.
“However, on other units more subtle, but still costly effects, such as increased days open and increased transition disease may be attributable to Q fever.
“Working out the best strategy for on-farm control is where supplementary diagnostics, such as serological testing of animals in different management groups, and the cost calculator from Ceva’s Q audit has allowed us to guide the best vaccination protocols on different farms in a cost-effective manner.
“Where a vaccination protocol has been implemented, early results have been positive with apparent reduction in pregnancy loss and still births on these farms.
“While it is too early to assess any long-term impact of vaccination, these preliminary findings are encouraging and should increase the awareness and engagement from farmers and vets with this disease.
“Despite Q fever being endemic in GB dairy herds, Q fever has been historically underestimated and awareness of the disease amongst farmers and the related farming industries has been low,” adds Katherine Timms, BVetMed (Hons), MRCVS, ruminant veterinary advisor at Ceva Animal Health.
“The Ceva Q map will be updated on an ongoing basis and will help address this by demonstrating the incidence of positive cases and indiscriminate hot spots across the UK, while the Q pack will help support farmers whose herds have been diagnosed with the disease.”
The Q map is available on the Q fever website while the farmer Q pack is available upon request from your local Ceva account manager.