Q Fever

Q Fever is a topic covered in the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics.

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General Principles

  • Q fever is a systemic infection caused by the gram-negative coccobacilli, Coxiella burnetti, which is shed in the urine, feces, milk, and especially the placenta of infected livestock (e.g., cattle, sheep, and goats). Urban outbreaks have also been reported from cats and rabbits.
  • C. burnetti undergoes antigenic variation which forms the basis of differentiating acute from chronic Q fever. When C. burnetti express phase I antigen, it is highly infectious and a single bacteria is sufficient to cause disease.

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General Principles

  • Q fever is a systemic infection caused by the gram-negative coccobacilli, Coxiella burnetti, which is shed in the urine, feces, milk, and especially the placenta of infected livestock (e.g., cattle, sheep, and goats). Urban outbreaks have also been reported from cats and rabbits.
  • C. burnetti undergoes antigenic variation which forms the basis of differentiating acute from chronic Q fever. When C. burnetti express phase I antigen, it is highly infectious and a single bacteria is sufficient to cause disease.

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