Coxiella burnetii and Q fever in Brazil: a public health issue

Iangla Araujo de Melo Damasceno Ricardo Consigliero Guerra About the authors


Q fever is a zoonosis that is broadly distributed worldwide, despite few reports associated with its occurrence in Brazil. Coxiella burnetii, namely the causative agent of Q fever is a gram-negative coccobacillus and an obligate intracellular bacterial parasite of the order of Legionellales. The microorganism is generally present in the urine and feces of infected animals and can be found in large quantities in placental membranes of at-term or aborted animals. The inhalation of particles suspended in the air or contaminated aerosols is the most common form of bacterial contact. Q Fever is a self-limited disease, and often progresses in a benign way. In cases where the disease progresses to the chronic form, endocarditis is the most prevalent manifestation. Clinical diagnosis is difficult since the symptoms are similar to many other diseases. In confirmed cases, antibiotic therapy is the treatment indicated. Given the lack of knowledge about the disease and the difficulty of diagnosis, it is believed that Q fever is more common than generally believed in Brazil.

Coxiella burnetii; Occupational exposure; Zoonosis

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