RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment is researching whether people who previously had Q fever have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

In the outbreak of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the spring of 2020, several regions in Noord-Brabant were severely affected. Cases of Q fever were also common in these same regions from 2007 to 2009. Working with the Hart voor Brabant GGD, the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (Nivel) and the Jeroen Bosch Hospital, RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment is now researching whether people who have Q fever (or previously had Q fever) also have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. RIVM will also be looking at whether people who have had Q fever may have a more serious course of illness from COVID-19 – for example, by seeing if they needed to be hospitalised or even admitted to Intensive Care. 

Survey-based study

From 2011 to 2013, the Jeroen Bosch Hospital and RIVM conducted research among people who had an acute Q fever infection in 2007–2009. People who participated in this study and gave permission at the time to be approached again for follow-up research will receive a call from RIVM in January to fill out a survey. Among other things, RIVM will ask whether they have had any health problems in the past year that could (possibly) be related to COVID-19. If so, they will be asked if they have been tested, visited their GP, and/or hospitalised.

Participating in the study

It is not possible to sign up to participate in this study. People who are eligible to participate will receive a letter from RIVM. Participation is limited to people who participated in the Q fever study between 2011 and 2013 and who indicated at the time that they could be approached again for follow-up research. Participation is voluntary.

Results

The survey-based study will continue until 5 February. RIVM will be comparing the data from the survey results with data on reported people with COVID-19 in this region in 2020 and 2021. The results are expected to be published this year.