Original Research

Seroprevalence and factors associated with Coxiella burnetii exposure in goats in Moretele

Rungano Magadu, Peter N. Thompson
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 90, No 1 | a2071 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v90i1.2071 | © 2023 Rungano Magadu, Peter N. Thompson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 August 2022 | Published: 04 April 2023

About the author(s)

Rungano Magadu, Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Peter N. Thompson, Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Infection with Coxiella burnetii causes significant economic impact and poses zoonotic risk to people exposed to livestock, yet few studies in South Africa have assessed seroprevalence of C. burnetii infection and no information is available for goats. Very little information is available regarding risk factors and outcomes of C. burnetii infection in peri-urban farming areas where widespread mixing of ruminants occurs. This study estimated the seroprevalence of C. burnetii infection among communally farmed goats in an area adjacent to the densely populated Gauteng province. Sera were collected from 216 goats in 39 herds, and questionnaires were completed to establish management practices as potential risk factors. C. burnetii antibody testing was done by ELISA. Thirty two out of 216 goats tested positive for C. burnetii antibodies and the overall seroprevalence, adjusted for sampling weights and clustering, was 18.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.2% – 23.5%). The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.06, indicating low-to-moderate clustering. Multiple logistic regression showed age was significantly associated with seropositivity, with higher seroprevalence in animals ≥ 19 months old (26%) than animals ≤ 6 months old (6%) (odds ratio [OR]: 6.6; p = 0.010). We concluded C. burnetii infection is common in goats in Moretele and a potential cause of abortion in goats and poses the potential zoonotic disease risk.

Contribution: Despite the threats posed on animal health and productivity, scant information is published on C. burnetii in South Africa. This research established preliminary estimates of C. burnetii seroprevalence. The research is original from a South African perspective, relevant to Africa and focused on infectious disease in livestock.


seroprevalence; Coxiella burnetii; goats; ELISA; risk factors; zoonosis


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Crossref Citations

1. A review of coxiellosis (Q fever) and brucellosis in goats and humans: Implications for disease control in smallholder farming systems in Southeast Asia
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One Health  vol: 16  first page: 100568  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1016/j.onehlt.2023.100568