Have you ever heard of the Q fever before? Upon hearing the name itself, you might have uttered, “eh?” Well, this condition is existent by all means. The Q fever or what they commonly call the query fever is a fever that is mainly caused by a bacterial infection. Furthermore, it is more common to sheep cattle, goats all over the world. however, humans are not safe from it, since us humans may also acquire it. Do you want to know how? Read on to this article! You will not just be learning about how it is being transferred from an organism to another, but you will also get to know the causes, symptoms, as well as the treatments for Q fever.
Q Fever: What is this condition?
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The query fever, popular as the Q fever (as what I’ve said earlier) is a condition that is mainly caused by a bacterial infection known as the Coxella burnettii. This particular bacterium actually belongs to the Legionellales order. Furthermore, the C. burnettii is mainly spread through breathing a contaminated air or by consuming any food that has the bacteria.
The farm workers, most especially the ones who work with animals, those who work in the slaughterhouses, as well as the veterinarians are particularly at risk of the condition. Since the infection may occur due to airborne transmission and the agent is so resilient to the conditions of the environment, it was counted in on the list of all the possible bacteriological weaponry.
Moreover, the Q fever may cause many highly variable illnesses, which may range from acute infection up to a fatal chronic infection. These infections, which in fact, do not cause any outward symptoms or may have no symptoms are quite common as well.
How Does it Spread?
The bacteria may pass into the milk, feces, or urine of the animal with infection, as well as during the birthing. In fact, large numbers of organisms are being shed in the birth products. The Q fever is also resistant to the heat, drying, as well as to some common disinfectants. Thus allowing them to survive for a long period of time in the environment.
Furthermore, the infections of humans commonly occur by way of inhalation of the bacteria in the air that carries the dust that is contaminated by the dried placental material urine, feces, birth fluids of the herd who has the infection. The contaminated straw, hides, wool, or clothing may be a source of infection s well. Moreover, the person to person spread may be unlikely to happen.
Symptoms of Q Fever
There is only about half of those who have the C. burnettii bacterium show symptoms of various clinical conditions, including Q fever. However, the onset of the symptoms is typically abrupt, with one or more of these:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain while breathing
- A dry cough
- A sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Chills and swear
- A severe headache
- Fever that may last for about 4 weeks
About half of the symptomatic cases of the condition may develop into pneumonia, and a number of people may have inflammation of the liver. On the other hand, most of the people may recover in just several months even with no treatments at all. Some of the people may develop chronic Q fever after getting exposure.
The ones who are at most risks of the chronic Q fever are the following:
- Those who have a chronic kidney condition
- Cancer patients
- Transplant recipients
- Those who have underlying heart conditions
Prevention of Q Fever
If you want to prevent Q fever from affecting you, you may opt to do the following prevention tips:
- Do not drink any unpasteurized milk.
- Don’t go near the infected animals.
- Exclude yourself from school, preschool, childcare, or work if necessary.
- Get vaccine for the condition to avoid it from occurring.
Treatments for Q Fever
Actually, there are some mild cases of the condition that may improve even with no treatments for Q fever at all. But if the condition demands treatment, then there can be some. One of the best and most recommendable treatments for Q fever is antibiotic therapy. This particular treatment usually reduces the period of the infection. Furthermore, physicians highly recommend that all of the people who have the condition must receive the antibiotic therapy. Even those who have no recognizable clinical findings.
Doxycycline is the most commonly used antibiotic therapy for those who have the condition. In fact, it takes effect within just three days o infection. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory drugs may be beneficial in the individuals don’t respond to the antibiotics.
On the other hand, the chronic Q fever is much more difficult to treat. There may be a need for endocarditis for the prolonged antibiotic treatment, which may usually involve treatment that has multiple drugs like the combination of hydroxychloroquine and doxycycline, which reduces the lethality drastically.
There is actually no approved vaccines by the FDA or Food and Drug Administration for the condition. However, there are some countries that develop vaccines. These vaccines are beneficial in the prevention of the condition.