There are strong indications that the risk of infection in humans with Q fever depends on physical environmental factors such as warm weather with dry soils and a certain wind. In this study, the influence of these factors, soil type and, in particular, usage and humidity are examined, taking into account the population density, company size, production methods and weather conditions.

There are strong indications that the risk of infection in humans with Q fever depends on physical environmental factors such as warm weather with dry soils and a certain wind. Wind with enough speed and the right direction can bring out dust particles in the air that bacteria capture. These can then be inhaled by humans and animals in the surrounding area. It is believed that aerosols can move several kilometers by wind in dry, dusty conditions. Q fever outbreaks in humans took place in the Netherlands in 2007, 2008 and 2009, increasing in size.

The magnitude of the outbreaks in the Netherlands indicates that the transmission occurs through large scale pollution or by the existence of multiple contaminated point sources, and not so much by direct (professional) contact with animals or for example consumption of contaminated unpasteurized milk. So far, conclusive evidence is lacking to what factors influence the risk of infection the most. In some infected farms little or no infection is detected in humans while other sources have passed over to humans; regardless the size of the farm.

All this raises the question of whether physical environmental factors in certain areas of infection were more conducive for transmission than elsewhere. In this study, the influence of these factors, soil type and, in particular, usage and humidity are examined, taking into account the population density, company size, production methods and weather conditions.

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