September 25, 2016
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Q Fever

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Q fever facts

  • Q fever is a highly infectious disease that can cause serious illness.
  • Q fever is caused by a bacterium called Coxiella burnetii; infected animals transmit Q fever to humans.
  • Q fever can occur in an acute form and a chronic form.
  • Q fever can cause complications of pneumonia, hepatitis, endocarditis, vasculitis, and chronic fatigue.
  • Q fever in pregnant women can result in miscarriage or premature delivery.
  • There is no vaccine for Q fever available in the United States.
  • Antibiotics can successfully treat Q fever.

What is Q fever?

Q fever is an uncommon infectious disease. Animals transmit the disease to humans (this sort of infectious disease is called a zoonosis). Most often, cattle, goats, and sheep transmit Q fever, but it can also come from cats, dogs, rabbits, and other animals. Rarely, it's possible for Q fever to spread from person to person. In 2010, there were 131 cases of Q fever in the United States reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; however, some people with Q fever have only very mild symptoms and so do not seek medical care. Therefore, the actual number of cases is probably larger. In most people, Q fever may cause high fevers, sweating, muscle aches, headaches, cough, chills, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, and diarrhea. The disease can cause a chronic infection that can result in endocarditis (infection and inflammation of the valves of the heart). In March, 2013, the CDC published the first set of national guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Q fever.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/16/2016


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