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Livestock infection hits victims in Wash.

June 23, 2011 at 3:55 PM   |   Comments

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SPOKANE, Wash., June 23 (UPI) -- Health officials in Washington say five people have been diagnosed with what doctors suspect is a rare livestock-related bacterial infection called Q fever.

Federal, state and local health and agricultural officials say they have traced the infection to goats purchased from or bred at farms in Washington state's Grant County, The Spokesman Review of Spokane reported

Goats from the farms have been traced to nine other Washington counties and to Cascade and Teton counties in Montana, where six more people have been stricken with suspected Q fever, the newspaper said.

Such bacterial infections are common among goat, sheep and cattle herds, Jason Kelly, a spokesman for the Washington state Department of Agriculture, said, citing a national study that found that at times 90 percent of dairy herds can carry the bacteria.

Human cases of Q fever are rare, however, with only between zero and three cases of Q fever normally confirmed in Washington each year, Donn Moyer, a spokesman for the state Department of Health, said.

People can suffer flu-like symptoms and develop pneumonia or hepatitis, Moyer said.

Health officials have asked people with any symptoms who have worked around goats or other livestock to get tested.

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