Guidelines for the Treatment and Follow-Up of Patients with Q Fever

Cláudio Nunes-Silva, Rafael Rocha, António Martins, Lúcia Ribeiro, João Nuak, Margarida Tavares, António Sarmento, Filipa Ceia, Cândida Abreu


Q fever (or query fever) is a zoonotic infectious disease with worldwide distribution transmitted by an intracellular Gram-negative bacterium, Coxiella burnetii. The most common identified sources of human infection are farm animals, such as sheep, goats and cattle. The disease is endemic in mainland Portugal, with most cases notified in the central and southern regions. Q fever is a complex and pleomorphic disease, with those affected presenting with a wide range of manifestations from acute self-limited flu-like symptoms with good prognosis to persistent localized forms that may harbor a poor prognosis. Cases might occur in an isolated fashion or following outbreaks with great public health repercussion, as seen recently in the Netherlands from 2007 to 2010. Given the complexity of this infection, there is no universal consensus to date on the best strategy to manage Q fever patients. These guidelines provide recommendations regarding the treatment and follow-up of these patients, based on studies, on the author’s experience and on the opinion of international experts. The aim is to harmonize the management of these patients taking into account not only the clinical manifestations but also the risk factors of the host in order to reduce disease-associated morbidity and mortality.


Coxiella burnetii; Q Fever/drug therapy; Treatment Outcome

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