Q Fever

  • Medical Author:

    Dr. Eddie Hooker is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville and at Wright State University. His areas of expertise include emergency medicine, epidemiology, health-services management, and public health.

  • Medical Author: Mary K. Bister, MD
  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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What is the prognosis for Q fever?

The prognosis for patients with acute Q fever is very good, with most patients recovering fully within a few weeks to months. The prognosis for patients with chronic Q fever is poorer, with up to 10% of patients dying even with appropriate treatment.

If it is not Q fever, what else could it be?

Because the initial symptoms of Q fever are shared by many other illnesses, there are a lot of other possible explanations for the symptoms. Influenza, pneumonia, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and viral or bacterial meningitis are some other diseases that can have similar symptoms.

What should people do if they have been exposed to Q fever?

If someone has been exposed to Q fever but does not have any symptoms, prophylactic treatment (treatment to prevent someone from getting the disease) is not recommended. If someone develops any of the symptoms of Q fever, he or she should be evaluated promptly by a medical professional.

Is there any treatment for Q fever?

Acute Q fever is treated with antibiotics (usually doxycycline) for 14 days. Pregnant women with acute Q fever should take the antibiotic trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra) from the time of diagnosis until week 32 of the pregnancy. Chronic Q fever treatment is more complicated and generally requires months to years of antibiotics.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2015

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