Q Fever: The Concise Guide to Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Fever Concise

What Is Q Fever?

Q fever is a highly contagious illness caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. This disease is spread through contact with infected animals or infected animal products. Q fever is most commonly found in cattle, sheep, and goats, but it can occur in other species as well. People can become infected with Q fever through breathing in the bacteria, drinking contaminated milk, eating infected meat, or handling animal materials such as wool. Symptoms of Q fever include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, cough, chest pain, and fatigue. In serious cases, Q fever can cause complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, and endocarditis.

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What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Q Fever?

Q fever occurs when the bacteria Coxiella burnetii is inhaled into the lungs or ingested. This can occur when people are in close contact with animals that are infected or when animal materials or products are contaminated. Common sources of the bacteria include animal fur, wool, feathers, dander, saliva, feces, and milk. People who work in occupations that involve contact with animals such as farmers, veterinarians, and animal handlers are at an increased risk of developing Q fever.

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Symptoms and Treatment of Q Fever

The most common symptom of Q fever is a sudden fever that lasts for two or three weeks. Other symptoms include chills, headache, muscle pain, cough, chest pain, and fatigue. The infection can also spread to the heart, causing endocarditis, or the brain, causing meningitis. Treatment of Q fever usually involves antibiotics and supportive care. If endocarditis or meningitis develops, hospital care may be needed.

Prevention and Health Advice

The best way to prevent Q fever is to avoid contact with animals or animal materials that may be contaminated. It is important to take precautions when working with animals, such as wearing protective clothing, using disinfectants, and avoiding contact with animal waste. Vaccines are available for people at high risk of developing Q fever and should be considered for those who are in regular contact with animals. People with Q fever should seek medical attention if symptoms become severe and should follow the advice of their healthcare provider for prevention and treatment.

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