Q Fever


Q Fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii and can have both acute and chronic stages.


Q Fever is found worldwide with a variety of species that can be infected. Most commonly Q Fever is found in livestock including cattle, sheep, and goats.


The bacteria in Q Fever can live in milk, urine and droppings of infected animals. Unfortunately, this bacterium is not killed by heating and drying or by using disinfectants. Infection usually occurs through inhalation from the air. Tick bites and the consumption of raw milk and dairy products can also be causes of infection.


Acute symptoms occur about 2-3 weeks after contact and these symptoms include high fever, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pain, nausea, abdominal pain, chills, and sweats. Symptoms do vary from person to person.  Chronic Q Fever occurs in a very small percentage of infected people. Pregnant woman and those with weak immune systems and heart problems are at a higher risk.


Antibiotics are used to treat Q Fever. Early diagnosis is important and if this condition is caught within a few days can usually go away within 72 hours with antibiotics. The antibiotics and treatments for pregnant woman are different from other Q Fever patients.


Avoid consuming raw dairy products and animals that may be infected. Avoid inhaling barn dust and any body fluids from potentially infected animals (birth fluids, blood, urine, saliva, etc.).


Use caution if you often handle livestock and barnyard animals. Farmers and veterinarians can be targets for Q Fever.

Other Facts

California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas are among the states that account for about half of reported Q Fever cases.