Q fever is an infectious disease due to the bacterium Coxiella burnetii, which infects ruminants (sheep, goats and cattle). Human beings are generally infected by the bacterium through breathing in dust or water droplets.
Q fever cannot be transmitted between human beings and the infection is asymptomatic in 50% of cases. However, it occasionally develops as a flu-like syndrome (after an incubation period of approximately 2 weeks) with shivering, high temperature, nausea, headaches, and muscle aches. It generally recovers over a week to ten days with no need for any specific treatment.
However in people with heart valve disease or reduced immune defences the disease may progress to a chronic stage. Q fever can also cause miscarriages in pregnant women, particularly in the early months. It therefore needs to be treated medically regardless of the stage of pregnancy.
Q fever is caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. DR Credits.