Warning of Q fever in Horb am Neckar

Warning of Q fever in Horb am Neckar

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Village festival canceled after several infections with Q fever - source of infection still unclear
After a village festival in the district of Dießen was canceled due to several Q fever infections at the weekend in Horb am Neckar, the source of the infections remains unclear, according to official information. Representatives of the State Health Office in Stuttgart were on site to find out about the situation on Tuesday, and two further cases of Q fever were confirmed on Wednesday. A total of four people were demonstrably infected by Wednesday.

Despite the extensive investigations that have been initiated, the source of the Q fever infections has not yet been identified, according to the Veterinary Office in the Freudenstadt district. "Antibodies have been found in individual flocks of sheep that have been sampled, but there are no acute illnesses," the Veterinary Office said. In the case of a flock of sheep, however, "there is still a strong suspicion that it may be considered a focus of infection." On Saturday, representatives of the health department, the veterinary office, the agricultural office and the city administration will inform the local population at an event on the topic of Q fever.

First Q fever infection reported a week ago
The first Q fever infection was reported to the health department in Freudenstadt on Wednesday last week. A sheep farmer from the Dießen district of Horber had contracted the infectious disease. The subsequent investigation by the health department showed that several people from the district of Dießen had also recently developed symptoms such as high fever and pneumonia. Because the disease is usually transmitted to humans from farm animals such as cattle, sheep or goats, the Veterinary Office also immediately started examinations.

Search for the source of infection
The health office and the veterinary office are working intensively to determine the source of the Q fever infections in order to prevent further illnesses, reports the head of the health office Freudenstadt, Dr. Josef Bendak. "In addition, we have already informed the doctors in the area so that if there are symptoms, we can check for a possible Q fever infection," added Bendak. Possible symptoms include flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache and body aches. There is usually no transmission from person to person.

See symptoms of “summer flu” to the doctor
The health office urgently advises a doctor to consult all people from Dießen, Dettlingen and Bittelbronn who have symptoms of “summer flu” and who have stayed near sheep or goats. A blood test can be used to determine whether there is an infection with Q fever. Treatment could then be carried out with antibiotics if necessary. According to the head of the health department, pregnant women are "a special risk group" because Q fever is associated with an increased risk of miscarriages and premature births. Furthermore, people with heart defects or heart valve replacement as well as immunocompromised people belong to the risk group for Q fever. In the worst case, there is a risk of chronic inflammation of the heart.

Those who belong to the risk groups mentioned and who have been in the vicinity of sheep or goats in the area of ​​the Dießen Valley since mid-May should, according to the health authority, see a doctor and have themselves examined for Q fever, even if no symptoms are present yet . This is important, "since the risk groups compared to the normal population are expected to have a ten times higher risk of developing a chronic course," the Health Office said.

In total, 39 people in Baden-Württemberg have been diagnosed with Q fever in the past three and a half weeks, reports the news agency “dpa”, citing the State Health Office. The Zollernalbkreis had most of the infections. In Horb am Neckar (Freudenstadt district), the number of reported cases increased to six confirmed infections on Thursday. (fp)

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