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Transmission of Coxiella burnetii to cage mates using murine animal model

Bechah, Yassina, Raoult, Didier
Comparative immunology, microbiology, and infectious diseases 2017 v.50 pp. 29-33
Coxiella burnetii, DNA, aerosols, animal models, bacteria, biopsy, blood, cages, disease transmission, excretion, feces, human diseases, lungs, lymph nodes, males, mice, polymerase chain reaction, spleen, urine
Aerosols from the products of abortions of infected animals with Coxiella burnetii were known to be the main source of infection in humans with this bacterium. However, little is known about the excretion of C. burnetii in the feces and urine of infected mice, or the dynamic of transmission between infected and healthy mice. To investigate whether C. burnetii can be excreted in the feces and urine of infected mice and whether transmission to uninfected cage mates occurs, male mice were inoculated with C. burnetii using a “whole body aerosol system” and feces and urine were collected different time points post-infection from these mice. One hour post exposure to aerosols, uninfected mice was placed with infected mice and the transmission was monitored using blood, and organs biopsies collected after sacrifice of contact mice different time points post-contact. Bacterial DNA was not detected in the feces and urine of infected mice at 3, 7, 14 and 28days post-inoculation suggesting that C. burnetii was not excreted in the feces and urine and consequently they cannot be source of contamination. However, based on the positive PCR results for lungs, blood, spleen, tracheal lymph nodes and cervical lymph nodes, some of the contact animals were considered contaminated at 8days post-contact. These results indicated that transmission of C. burnetii to contact animals occurs, and it is unlikely that feces and urine act as source of this transmission. Further experiments are needed to clarify the exact mode of contamination.