Q fever and rheumatic disease Please rate this page (bottom of page)

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Q fever

Q fever with mycotic aneurysm. Barten DGS, 2013. CC BY 2.0


Bacterial infection caused by Coxiella burnetii which attacks both animals and humans. Q fever is very rare in Norway. Cases have occurred after infection abroad. The disease occurs on all continents with outbreaks in several European countries, including France and the Netherlands. Livestock like cattle, sheep, goats, dogs and cats can be carriers of the bacterium and infect people. Infrequently, infection can be transmitted via tick bite. Incubation time is 9-40 days.

  • The infection can rarely cause a soreness on the main artery (aneurysm). This can be confused with rheumatic inflammation (inflammatory aortic aneurysm)
  • Rheumatic symptoms can be muscle aches (Myalgia)
  • People with a weakened immune system who undergo immunosuppressive, anti-rheumatic therapy, after organ transplantation or HIV infection, can get serious infection


Acute onset of symptoms

  • Flu symptoms
  • High fever
  • Hepatitis
    • High liver enzymes
    • Pneumonia
  • Muscle pain (Myalgia)

Chronic Q fever

People with impaired immune system, heart valve failure or pregnancy are prone to developing chronic Q fever


  • Antibody in blood samples
    • Present 1-2 weeks after infection
    • Bacterial DNA can be detected (The Norwegian Public Health Institute)


A variety of antibiotics are effective. The treatment should be controlled by a specialist in infectious diseases.


Opportunistic infections, BINDEVEVSSYKDOMMER.no

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