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After a large Q fever outbreak in the Netherlands in the period from 2007 to 2010, the risk of Q fever transmission through tissue and cell transplantation from undiagnosed chronic Q fever cases became a potential issue. We aimed to evaluate the risk of Q fever transmission through tissue and cell transplantation. We performed a retrospective observational cohort study among 15,133 Dutch donors of tissues and stem cells from 2010 to 2015 to assess seroprevalence of antibodies, to identify factors associated with presence of antibodies, and to assess the proportion of undiagnosed chronic Q fever cases. The study population consisted of 9,478 (63%) femoral head donors, 5,090 (34%) post-mortal tissue donors and 565 (4%) cord blood donors. Seroprevalence of antibodies gradually decreased after the outbreak, from 2.1% in 2010 to 1.4% in 2015, with a significant trend in time (p < 0.001). Of 301 seropositive donors, seven (2.3%) were newly detected with chronic Q fever (0.05% of all screened donors). This study shows that seroprevalence of antibodies among donors of tissues and cells in the Netherlands after 2014 was similar to pre-outbreak levels in the general population. The proportion of newly detected chronic Q fever patients among donors of tissues and cells was smaller than 0.1%. This study may prompt discussion on when to terminate the screening programme for chronic Q fever in donors of tissues and cells in the Netherlands.


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