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Economic Consequences of the Q Fever Outbreak


Publication number: 2011-15
Authors: C. Tempelman, J. Prins, C. Koopmans
Commissioned by: Province of North Brabant
Published by: SEO Economic Research
ISBN: 978-90-6733-598-0

During the 2007-2009 period there was a growing number of Q fever patients in the Netherlands. In order to bring the epidemic under control the government introduced various measures, such as vaccinating animals and measures relating to hygiene and manure. The number of Q fever patients continued to rise, however, and the government introduced increasingly stricter measures. It was finally decided at the end of December 2009 to cull all pregnant goats and sheep on contaminated farms.

SEO was commissioned by the Province of Noord-Brabant to calculate the economic consequences of this Q fever outbreak over the 2007-2010 period.

The total damage is estimated at 161-336 million euros. The biggest item was the loss of quality of life for patients, amounting to some 67-145 million euros. Another major item was working days lost: inability to work because of illness cost an estimated 12.5-96.5 million euros.

The lion’s share of the damage was borne by society: first and foremost the loss of quality of life for patients, but also the cost of treating them. The health insurers ultimately pass on this cost to society in health insurance premiums. Apart from this the government bore the greatest expense, because of the cost of culling animals and paying compensation to farmers.


Category: 2011, Carl Koopmans, Caren Tempelman, Healthcare & Social Security