Q fever usually is a mild disease with flu-like symptoms. Many people have no symptoms at all. But in a small percentage of people, the infection can resurface years later. This more deadly form of Q fever can damage your heart, liver, brain and lungs.

Q fever is transmitted to humans by animals, most commonly sheep, goats and cattle. When you inhale barnyard dust particles contaminated by infected animals, you may become infected. High-risk occupations include farmers, veterinarians and people who work with sheep in research labs.

The mild form of Q fever typically clears up within a few weeks with no treatment. But if Q fever recurs, you may need to take a combination of antibiotics for at least 18 months.

Jul. 07, 2011