Q-fever examination sparks buzz

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The first day of Q-fever examinations has begun in Herpen, which has drawn a large number of people to get their blood tested. Exact figures are not available, but the examiners are satisfied about the number of people that showed up to have blood taken on Monday. All 2200 residents of the town in Brabant have received a call to get their blood tested. The participants must also fill in a questionnaire. The tests must shed more light on the characteristics of Q-fever. This is why analysts want to know who has had the illness, and what side-effects are observable. Further, this examination must reveal who has chronic Q-fever. Not every patient notices the effects of this. The blood will be screened for the presence of antibodies and proteins that reveal the activities of blood-cells against the Q-fever bacteria.

In the summer of 2007, an epidemic of respiratory channel complaints broke out in Herpen, part of the Municipality Oss. Thanks to the determination of family doctor Alfons Oude Loohuis, it was finally clear that an outbreak of Q-fever was the problem. The bacteria that causes the illness becomes airborne at the miscarriages of goats and sheep. Q-fever occurred only sporadically in the Netherlands before 2007. Yearly, there were just a few, almost always profession-related cases. Then, it became 168 cases in one village.  

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