Serologic evidence indicates that Q fever is widespread in Utah, but only one proved case has been reported previously. The second proved case occurred in a young man who worked with sheep hides. His illness started with severe malaise; subsequent symptoms were fever, headache, vomiting, profuse sweats, and cough. Radiographic examination of the chest showed a homogeneous pneumonia in the left upper lobe. Dramatic improvement began after chloramphenicol therapy was started. Q fever is caused by Ricksettsia burneti, primarily a parasite of the tick. Human-to-human transmission does not occur. The usual route of human infection is by inhalation of infected dust particles. Q fever presents as an undifferentiated pneumonia. It is specifically treatable with either chloramphenicol or any of the tetracyclines. Most of the Q fever in Utah is probably reported as influenza. Diagnosis is retrospective and is accomplished by demonstrating a rise in serum complement-fixing antibodies specific for Rickettsia burneti.
Hoeprich PD, Ward JR, Schmidt AM. REPORT OF A SEROLOGICALLY PROVED CASE OF Q FEVER IN UTAH. JAMA. 1959;170(2):180–183. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010020038012
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