By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
The Ministry of Health of the Government of La Rioja in northern Spain have reported four patients hospitalized with the bacterial infection, Q fever, according to a Moncloa report (computer translated).
The four people admitted would have been infected by contact with infected animals during their stay in the Cameros area of La Rioja.
Q fever is caused by the obligate intracellular pathogen, Coxiella burnetii. The disease is usually transmitted to people through either infected milk or through aerosols.
This disease is found on most continents with the reported incidence probably much lower than the actual because so many cases are so mild.
Animal reservoirs of C. burnetii include sheep, cattle, goats, dogs and cats. In areas where these animals are present, Q fever affects veterinarians, meatpacking workers, and farmers.
Q fever is also considered a potential agent of bioterrorism.
The symptoms of Q fever according to the CDC are an unexplained febrile illness, sometimes accompanied bypneumonia and/or hepatitis is the most common clinical presentation. Illness onset typically occurs within 2–3 weeks after exposure.
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The mortality rate for acute Q fever is low (1–2%), and the majority of persons with mild illness recover spontaneously within a few weeks although antibiotic treatment will shorten the duration of illness and lessen the risk of complications. Chronic Q fever is uncommon (<1% of acutely infected patients) but may cause life-threatening heart valve disease (endocarditis).
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