Q fever is an infectious disease transmitted from animals to humans that can affect
the heart, lungs, and other
body parts and cause flu-like symptoms.
More to Know
Q fever is caused by bacteria
that are most often found in sheep, goats, and cattle. The bacteria are spread in
the urine, feces, milk, and birth products (placenta, amniotic fluids, and blood)
of infected animals. Usually, people get Q fever by inhaling barnyard dust that contains
dried particles of infected material. Rarely, people can get Q fever by drinking raw,
infected unpasteurized milk, coming into contact with infected animals, or by tick
In some people Q fever may not cause any symptoms. Symptoms that may appear include
fever, headache, cough, joint
and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In rare cases, symptoms can last
for longer than 6 months. This form of the disease (chronic Q fever) can lead to serious
complications if it goes untreated.
Keep in Mind
Q fever is found worldwide but usually only affects people whose occupations involve
livestock and ranching. Many people have either no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
Most cases either get better on their own or can be treated with a simple course of
antibiotics. Severe cases may require treatment with antibiotic medications for months
or even years.
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