Thermo Fisher Scientific focuses on dengue and Q fever in latest issue of Oxoid Culture journal

Incidences of both diseases have increased rapidly in recent years

The latest edition of Oxoid’s journal Culture (Volume 32, No 1) is now available. The issue focuses on two important febrile diseases: dengue, one of the world’s deadliest mosquito-borne viral diseases, infecting approximately 50 million people in the tropical and subtropical regions each year, and Q fever, a zoonotic illness caused by Coxiella burnetii that is normally rare, but recently caused a large outbreak in the Netherlands.

Dr Byron Martina from the Department of Virology at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, provides an overview on the clinical course, pathogenesis and treatment of dengue.

The issue focuses on two important febrile diseases: dengue, one of the world’s deadliest mosquito-borne viral diseases: dengue and Q fever

Incidences of dengue infection, which is transmitted by species of mosquito belonging to the Aedes genus, have increased dramatically in recent years. This has been compounded by the effects of changing demographics, urbanisation, climate changes and an increase in travel, making it one of the most important emerging vector-borne diseases and an major global health concern. There is currently no specific treatment or vaccine against the dengue virus.

It is believed that the host response plays a critical role in the outcome of dengue virus infection. With no current specific treatment or vaccine yet available, Dr Martina concludes that deciphering the host responses involved in the development of severe dengue will provide an important contribution to the development of new and effective intervention strategies.

In a review of Q fever in the Netherlands, authors R J Brooke and W van der Hoek from the Netherland’s National Institute for Public Health and the Environment at Bilthoven, and P M Schneeberger from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control at Jeroen Bosch Hospital in Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, describe a recent large outbreak of Q fever in the Netherlands from 2007 to 2009.

Caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii, Q fever is normally a rare zoonotic illness. In 2007, however, the number of cases in the Netherlands rose from around 12 cases per year to 178. The incidence continued to increase in 2008, when 1,000 cases were reported, and in 2009, when more than 2,300 cases were reported.

The annual peak of infections seemed to coincide with the lambing season, and the outbreak was linked to the recent rapid increase in goat farming in the Netherlands. After introducing a number of interventions in 2009, including mandatory hygiene measures, vaccination of goats and sheep and culling of pregnant animals in infected farms, incidence of Q fever dropped dramatically in 2010 to less than 500 cases. The authors believe that future research should focus on how infection is transmitted from animals to humans and on the impact of veterinary control measures.

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