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Potentially life-threatening emergency
Q fever - Pulmonary
See also in: International Travel
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed
Potentially life-threatening emergency

Q fever - Pulmonary

See also in: International Travel
Contributors: Susan Voci MD, Sumanth Rajagopal MD, William Bonnez MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by the rickettsia-like organism Coxiella burnetii. The distribution is worldwide, but Q fever is more prevalent in Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and Central America.

Cattle, sheep, and goats are the main reservoir, and transmission to humans typically occurs by direct contact with the body fluids of infected animals and with inhalation of C. burnetii in aerosolized body fluids and contaminated dust. Ingestion of contaminated milk or meat is a less common mode of transmission, as are tick bites.

C. burnetii is resistant to heat, drying, and common disinfectants. Very few organisms are required to cause illness. 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.

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

Chronic disease may develop and persist for over 6 months. The chronic form can occur up to 20 years after initial infection. 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. Infection results in lifelong immunity.

Q fever has been identified by the CDC as a Category B bioterrorism agent. Category B agents are the second highest priority and include those that are moderately easy to disseminate, result in moderate morbidity rates and low mortality rates, and require specific enhancements of the CDC's diagnostic capacity and enhanced disease surveillance.

Codes

ICD10CM:
A78 – Q fever

SNOMEDCT:
186788009 – Q fever

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Last Updated:07/23/2013
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Potentially life-threatening emergency
Q fever - Pulmonary
See also in: International Travel
Q fever (Acute) : Abdominal pain, Chest pain, Cough, Diarrhea, Fatigue, Fever, Headache, Vomiting, Myalgia
Copyright © 2021 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.