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Q Fever


Overview :

C. burnetii lives in many different kinds of animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, ticks, cats, rabbits, birds, and dogs. In sheep and cattle, for example, the bacteria tends to accumulate in large numbers in the female's uterus (the organ where lambs and calves develop) and udder. Other animals have similar patterns of bacterial accumulation within the females. As a result, C. burnetii can cause infection through contaminated milk, or when humans come into contact with the fluids or tissues produced when a cow or sheep gives birth. Also, the bacteria can survive in dry dust for months; therefore, if the female's fluids contaminate the ground, humans may become infected when they come in contact with the contaminated dust.

Persons most at risk for Q fever include anybody who works with cattle or sheep, or products produced from them. These include farm workers, slaughterhouse workers, workers in meat-packing plants, veterinarians, and wool workers. Since September 2001, however, Q fever has become an additional concern because of its potential as an agent of bioterrorism.

Q fever has been found all over the world, except in some areas of Scandinavia, Antarctica, and New Zealand.




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