Q fever is caused by a type of bacteria called Coxiella burnetii, most commonly found in sheep, goats and cattle. It also can infect pets, such as cats, dogs and rabbits.

These animals transmit the bacteria through their urine, feces, milk and birthing products — such as the placenta and amniotic fluid. When these substances dry, the bacteria in them become part of the barnyard dust that floats in the air. The infection is usually transmitted to humans through their lungs, when they inhale contaminated barnyard dust.

Jul. 07, 2011