Q fever is a disease in people and animals caused by the germ (bacteria) Coxiella burnetii.
In animals, the disease is also known as coxiellosis (pronounced cox·e·el·low·sis).
Who is at risk?
Anyone who has contact with animals infected with Q fever bacteria, especially people who work on farms or with animals. Examples of high-risk jobs include:
Animal or laboratory researchers
How is it spread?
Q fever is most commonly spread to people by infected farm animals, including goats, cattle, and sheep. People can get Q fever by:
Touching feces, urine, milk, or blood from an infected animal.
Breathing in dust that contains Q fever bacteria.
Touching a newborn animal or birthing products (placenta, birth fluids) from an infected animal.
Drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk.
What are the signs and symptoms of Q fever in people?
About half of people infected with Q fever bacteria will get sick with a flu-like illness. People may feel sick 2–3 weeks after contact with the bacteria.
Signs and symptoms can include:
Chills or sweats
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
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