Q Fever

  • Q Fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii and can have both acute and chronic stages.
  • Q Fever is found worldwide with a variety of species that can be infected.
  • Most commonly, Q Fever is found in livestock including cattle, sheep, and goats.
  • The bacteria in Q Fever can live in milk, urine and droppings of infected animals.
  • Unfortunately, this bacterium is not killed by heating and drying or by using disinfectants.
  • Infection usually occurs through inhalation from the air.
  • Tick bites and the consumption of raw milk and dairy products can also be causes of infection.

Acute symptoms occur about 2–3 weeks after contact and these symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills
  • Sweats

Symptoms vary from person to person. 

  • Chronic Q Fever occurs in a very small percentage of infected people. Pregnant women and those with weak immune systems and heart problems are at a higher risk.
  • Antibiotics are used to treat Q Fever.
  • Early diagnosis is important and if this condition is caught within a few days can usually go away within 72 hours with antibiotics.
  • The antibiotics and treatments for pregnant women are different from other Q Fever patients.
  • Avoid consuming raw dairy products and animals that may be infected.
  • Avoid inhaling barn dust and any body fluids from potentially infected animals (birth fluids, blood, urine, saliva, etc.).
  • Use caution if you often handle livestock and barnyard animals.
  • Farmers and veterinarians can be targets for Q Fever.
Other Facts

About half of reported Q Fever cases can be found in the following states:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Texas