Early and late Q
- An infection of the lungs (Pneumonia) and the liver (hepatitis)
- Symptoms of Q Fever can appear suddenly (acute) or persist for many years (chronic) with cycles of remission (free of symptoms) and relapse (symptoms appear).
- When Q Fever becomes chronic, it
can cause damage to body parts such as the aortic valve of
the heart (i.e.
- Often develop 2-4 weeks after exposure
- Sudden shaking chills
- High fever
- Loss of appetite
- Dry cough
- Chest pain on breathing (Pleurisy)
- Sore throat
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice (a yellowish tinge) to the
skin and icterus (a yellowish type to the whites of the eyes) is seen with hepatitis due to C. burnetii
- Usually resolves in 2-14 days
- May last longer in elderly and in the chronic (late) form
- Meningitis (infection
of the membranes covering the brain) rarely
- Infection caused by an organism from the Rickettsial family known as Coxiella burnetii, which lives in cats, dogs, birds, goats, sheep, ticks, cattle, and other domestic and wild animals
- Exposure to contaminated feces, blood, urine, birth products (inhaling dust and droplets containing the Coxiella, or direct skin contact with the animal product)
- Ingestion of contaminated animal products such as milk or meat
- Direct person-to-person spread has
not been seen.
- Occupational history is important.
- Medical exam will reveal:
- Enlarged, tender liver and spleen may be felt in the upper part of the abdomen
- Abnormal lung sounds such as a friction rub (from irritation of the sac covering the lungs)
- Abnormal heart sounds may be present if the valves are involved.
- Small and multiple areas of
bleeding under the skin (purpuric rash) may be seen with
the valve infections.
- Chest X-Ray in half the cases will show the lung involvement (Pneumonia).
- Blood test is available for diagnosing Q Fever
- Blood samples may show elevation of liver enzymes.
- ELISA test is a measurement of blood Proteins known as IgG that may help in diagnosing chronic cases.
- Liver Ultrasound (using
sound) may show liver enlargement or characteristic lesions known as granulomas (coin like areas).
- An Echocardiogram (using sound)
may show the C. burnetii colonies on the valves
- Farm workers
- Laboratory workers
- Slaughter houses
- Unpasteurized milk (milk that
has not been heat-treated)
- Exposure to contaminated bedding where the animal was lying or sleeping
- Has been documented in donated
blood and bone marrow
- Tylenol for fever
- Cough syrup
- Multiple vitamins, especially those containing anti-oxidants (vitamin C).
- Antibiotics such as tetracycline or ciprofloxacin given 8-12 days after exposure for 10-14 days of treatment are most effective.
- A vaccine is available for
high-risk individuals but may not be available to
your doctor as soon as exposure occurs or symptoms
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