Overview

Q fever is an infection caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Q fever is usually a mild disease with flu-like symptoms. Many people have no symptoms at all. 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 farming, veterinary medicine and animal research.

Mild cases of Q fever clear up quickly with antibiotic treatment. But if Q fever recurs, you may need to take antibiotics for at least 18 months.

Aug. 29, 2017
References
  1. Longo DL, et al., eds. Rickettsial diseases. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Feb. 22, 2017.
  2. Raoult D. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Q fever. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 22, 2017.
  3. Raoult D. Treatment and prevention of Q fever. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 22, 2017.
  4. Q fever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/qfever/index.html. Accessed Feb. 22, 2017.
  5. Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Viral and rickettsial infections. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2017. 56th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017. http://www.accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Feb. 22, 2017.