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Definition of Q fever

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Q fever: An infectious disease due to the bacterium Coxiella burnetii whose symptoms include fever, headache, malaise, and pneumonia (interstitial pneumonitis), but not rash. The Q stands for query because the cause of the disease was long a question mark. Q fever is a zoonotic disease and is contracted from cattle, sheep, and goats. Chronic Q fever (infection that persists for more than 6 months) may develop years after the initial infection and can lead to serious complications including endocarditis. Transplant recipients, patients with cancer, and patients with chronic kidney disease are at increased risk of developing chronic Q fever.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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