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Potentially life-threatening emergency
Q fever - Chem-Bio-Rad Suspicion
See also in: International Travel,Pulmonary
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed
Potentially life-threatening emergency

Q fever - Chem-Bio-Rad Suspicion

See also in: International Travel,Pulmonary
Contributors: Michael Sean Antonis DO, Alex Garza MD, MPH
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Q fever, or query fever, was first identified in Queensland, Australia, in 1935. It is a zoonotic disease caused by the rickettsia-like organism Coxiella burnetii. Cattle, sheep, and goats are the main reservoirs, and transmission to humans typically occurs by direct contact with body fluids of infected animals and with inhalation of C. burnetii in aerosolized body fluids and contaminated dust. Ingestion of contaminated raw milk or meat is a less common mode of transmission, as are tick bites.

C. burnetii
is resistant to heat, drying, and common disinfectants, and as little as one organism may cause illness. In a bioterrorism attack, the most likely method of dispersal would be an aerosolized release. Q fever has been designated by the CDC as a Category B bioterrorism agent.

The incubation period of Q fever depends on the number of organisms in the exposure, although 2 to 3 weeks is typical. It may be as short as 5 days following a massive exposure, as might be the case in a bioterrorism attack.

Initial symptoms of Q fever include high fever, chills, headache, malaise, myalgia, confusion, sore throat, sweats, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. A pneumonia with non-productive cough, chest pain, and rales may occur in 30% to 50% of cases after 4 to 5 days. Fever can persist for up to 2 weeks. Hepatitis may occur in some cases. The overall mortality rate is 1% to 2%.

Chronic disease (infection for greater than 6 months) may develop and persist for several decades and may also be reactivated by changes in immune status of the patient. Changes in immune status include pregnancy, cancer, or immunosuppressant usage. The disease may progress to endocarditis or aseptic meningitis. The prevalence of Q fever is unclear; half of those infected remain asymptomatic. Person-to-person transmission is not known to occur, outside of a few case reports. Infection results in lifelong immunity.

Codes

ICD10CM:
A78 – Q fever

SNOMEDCT:
186788009 – Q fever

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Last Updated:07/24/2013
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Potentially life-threatening emergency
Q fever - Chem-Bio-Rad Suspicion
See also in: International Travel,Pulmonary
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Q fever (Acute) : Abdominal pain, Chest pain, Cough, Diarrhea, Fatigue, Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Myalgia
Copyright © 2021 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.