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Q Fever

Q fever is a bacterial infection caused by the coxiella burnetii bacteria. It causes flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature, muscle pain and headaches. The infection results from inhalation of a spore-like small cell variant, and from contact with the milk, urine, feces, vaginal mucus, or semen of infected animals. Rarely, the disease is also known as tick borne.
The ‘Q’ in Q fever stands for ‘query’. This is because when the infection was first indentified, its cause was unknown. The cause is now understood but the name has remained the sames.

References: www.cdc.gov
www.nlm.nih.gov
www.nhs.uk
 

Incubation period is usually two to three weeks. The most common manifestation is mild flu-like symptoms with:

  • Onset of fever
  • Malaise
  • Profuse perspiration
  • Severe headache
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upper respiratory problems
  • Dry cough
  • Pleuritic pain
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The fever lasts approximately 7 to 14 days.

Reference: www.nhs.uk
 

Q fever is caused by bacteria known as coxiella burnetii (or c. burnetii). This bacteria generally spreads by animals infected by the bacteria.
The most commonly affected animals, and those that pose the biggest risk to humans, are:

  • Sheep
  • Cows
  • Goats
  • Domesticated pets, such as dogs, cats and guinea pigs

Reference: www.nhs.uk
 

Q fever can be diagnosed using a blood test.
Blood test: If the c. burnetii bacteria that cause Q fever is present in blood, then immune system (the body’s natural defence system) will produce a type of protein called an antibody to kill them.

Antibiotics can be used for Q fever like doxycycline or tetracycline.

In pregnant women as doxycycline and ciprofloxacin are contraindicated in pregnancy. The preferred treatment is five weeks of co-trimoxazole

Antibiotics can be used for Q fever like doxycycline or tetracycline.

In pregnant women as doxycycline and ciprofloxacin are contraindicated in pregnancy. The preferred treatment is five weeks of co-trimoxazole

  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : NHP CC DC
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Sep 29, 2015

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