Q fever is a zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii. Infection with C burnetii can be acute or chronic, and exhibits a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. The extreme infectivity of the bacterium results in large outbreaks and makes it a potential bioweapon. The clinical symptoms are those of fever, chills, severe headache, and pneumonia. The disease is usually mild, and complications are rare.
Although most persons with acute Q fever infection recover, others may experience serious illness with complications that may include pneumonia, granulomatous hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart tissue) and central nervous system complications. Treatment with the correct antibiotic may shorten the course of illness for acute Q fever.
A total 58 cases were identified in a 5-month period. Male to female ratio was 2.8:1; mean age was 42 years (range: 20-65 years). Twenty-eight patients (48%) were hospitalized. Fever was accompanied by asthenia (81%), headache (76%), chills (72%), and myalgia and arthralgia (53%); cough was present in 47% of patients.