DA: No Q fever in Pampanga

TESTING FOR Q FEVER. DA-BAI personnel conduct tests on an imported goat from the US at the agency’s quarantine facility in Pampanga where 24 of the animals were condemned after testing positive for Q fever. (Photos courtesy of DA)
TESTING FOR Q FEVER. DA-BAI personnel conduct tests on an imported goat from the US at the agency’s quarantine facility in Pampanga where 24 of the animals were condemned after testing positive for Q fever. (Photos courtesy of DA)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday (June 26) said that there are no livestock farmers in Pampanga affected by Q fever, a zoonotic disease that may be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals or their excreta or body fluids.

DA's Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reportedly depopulated 94 imported goats from the United States in “secluded” farms in Pampanga and Marinduque, after testing positive for the country’s first logged cases of Q fever.

The agency said 24 imported goats left in the quarantine facility in Pampanga were condemned even before conducting tests on the ruminants to eliminate any possible source of Q fever infection.

More than five dozens goats within the Marinduque breeding stations were also culled last Friday following the detection of Q fever among some of the animals at a government breeding station.

The DA said the goats were bought for a dispersal program to farmers and arrived in the country last January 11, 2024.

These were brought to the quarantine facility in Pampanga for the mandatory 30-day quarantine, and blood sampling and testing.

Some goats were transferred to Marinduque and underwent a separate series of tests on March 11.

Its first confirmatory test under reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) turned out positive on June 19, 2024.

This was followed by a similar result for the final confirmatory test on June 20, 2024.

The BAI did its initial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test after some pregnant goats showed Q fever symptoms, which include abortion.

The positive results for Q fever came out February 6.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. ordered the immediate condemnation of all infected goats and animals exposed to the infected ruminants; the tracing of potentially infected animals; and a temporary ban on the importation of goats from the US as well as a review of BAI’s quarantine and disease control protocols, and potential blacklisting of the importer of the infected goats.

The DA also put in place stringent border measures and wider surveillance in Pampanga and Marinduque.

The agency asked livestock farmers to report sick animals to prevent possible Q fever outbreaks.

DA added that local goats are safe for consumption, as long as they are properly cooked and pasteurized.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it is in close coordination with concerned local government units in Pampanga and Marinduque.

Although human to human transmission is rare, a mild zoonotic disease found in animals that can be transmitted to humans, especially among farmers and animal handlers who are in frequent contact with infected animals, the health department said.

The agency explained that symptoms in humans develop within two to three weeks after exposure and are commonly non-specific and mild.

These include fever, fatigue, headache, cough, nausea and vomiting.

The DOH assured the public that Q Fever can be cured by antibiotics.

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