Livestock: Netherlands battles with Q fever
10 December 2009
A new plague, Q fever or Coxiella infection, is threatening to ravage livestock herds in the Netherlands. In the coming weeks, all non-vaccinated pregnant ewes and goats will be slaughtered whether they are infected or not, reports NRC Handelsblad. Present in the country since 2007, the disease, which is highly contagious to animals and humans, causes miscarriages in infected animals and is often spread by birthing products. Six people are known to have died from Q fever in 2009, explains the daily, which notes that the planned measure "will bring back memories of the traumatic slaughter of 10 million pigs during the foot-and-mouth epidemic of 1997 and 1998." According to NRC, the imminent "massacre" could have been avoided if the government had implemented a proper testing and prevention campaign in 2007.