Q fever restrictions in the Netherlands lifted

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The Dutch Agriculture Ministry has lifted restrictions on breeding and transporting milk goats and milk sheep, which had been in force since the outbreak of Q fever earlier this year.

The disease is spread by bacteria that use pregnant goats and sheep as hosts; it affects humans and can be lethal for weakened patients. Since January 420 people have been infected with Q fever, and 5 people who were already suffering from other afflictions died.

The lifting of restrictions enables goat farmers to repopulate their stables. In an attempt to minimise the spread of Q fever, 89 goat and sheep farms were cleared of all livestock. This has led to a shortage of some 35,000 goats, according to farmers' umbrella organisation LTO. Many farmers have been financially crippled by the loss of income, and LTO warns that many of them may not be able to restart their businesses.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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