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 woman 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 woman are different from other Q Fever patients.

  • Avoid consuming raw dairy products and animals that may be infected.
  • Avoid inhaling barn dust and any bodily 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
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

are among the states that account for about half of reported Q Fever cases.