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Q Fever

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  • Coxiella burnettii is highly infectious by the aerosol route.
  • Q-Fever is rarely transmitted from person to person.


  • Incubation period is 10-40 days.
  • Acute infection may be asymptomatic or a self-limited febrile illness.
  • Chest x-ray evidence of pneumonia is present in up to 50% of cases.
  • Mortality rate is less than 2%.


Laboratory Diagnosis
  • Requires serologic confirmation (IFA or ELISA)
  • Isolation of organism is not recommended due to significant hazards from handling bacterial cultures in the laboratory


Patient Isolation
  • Universal precautions.  Patients do not require isolation rooms.


  • Illness usually resolves without treatment.
  • Tetracyclines are the antibiotics of choice for more severe illnesses.


  • Tetracycline antibiotics are very effective if administered 8-12 days AFTER exposure.
  • Starting prophylaxis immediately after exposure can delay symptom onset but does not prevent illness.

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