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Q Fever


  • Q Fever is highly infectious by the aerosol route
  • Q Fever is rarely transmitted from person to person


  • Incubation period is 10-40 days
  • Acute infection may be asymptomatic or a self-limited febrile illness
  • Symptoms acute illness is not clinically distinct, illness resembles viral respiratory infections or atypical pneumonias
  • Chest x-ray evidence of pneumonia is present in up to 50% of cases
  • Mortality rate is less than 2%
  • Durations of illness is 2 days to 2 weeks


  • Diagnosis requires serologic confirmation (IFA or ELISA)
  • Isolation of the organism is not recommended due to significant hazards from handling bacterial cultures in the laboratory

Patient Isolations:

  • Use universal precautions with patients. Patients do not require isolation rooms


  • Illness usually resolves without treatment
  • Tetracyclines are the antibiotics of choice for more severe illness


  • Tetracycline antibiotics are very effective if administered 8 to 12 days AFTER exposure
  • Starting prophylaxis immediately after exposure can delay symptom onset but does not prevent illness

Thanks to Santa Clara County for information provided on this page.

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