A research project will be conducted by FutureWater together with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on the supposed relation between the human transmission of Q fever and the local environmental conditions.

Infection with C. burnetii (Q fever) is likely to occur when a number of environmental conditions are met, such as warm weather with dry soil conditions and with wind speed and wind direction that allows airborne contaminated dust particles to be inhaled by people and animals that are at close distance to the contaminated soil. It has been suggested that under dry, dusty conditions infective aerosols can travel several km’s down wind and large human outbreaks have been linked to wind dispersion from sites where infected animals are kept.

Outbreaks of human Q fever of unprecedented size occurred in the Netherlands in 2007, 2008, and 2009. In the present study the importance of the environmental conditions in the Q fever high incidence area will be assessed for human transmission of the disease, The study focuses on soil cover, composition and soil moisture, while at the same time accounting for other possible explanations that can lead to small area variations such as differences in population density, farm sizes, production methods and weather conditions.

More details [in dutch] can be found here.