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March 1988

Q Fever: A Call to Heighten Our Index of Suspicion

Author Affiliations

From the Michigan Department of Public Health (Drs Sienko, Wentworth, and Hall and Mr McGee), Lansing; the Divisions of Field Services (Dr Sienko) and Surveillance and Epidemiologic Studies (Ms Herndon), Epidemiology Program Office, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta; and the School of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing (Dr Bartlett).

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(3):609-612. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380030115021

• The prevalence of Q fever infection is probably underestimated. In Michigan, the first two reported human cases of Q fever occurred in 1984. The case-patients lived in adjacent, rural counties and had multiple exposures to goats. We conducted a serosurvey of goat owners and a reference population to compare the prevalence of Q fever antibodies in the two-county area. Goat owners were almost three times more likely to be seropositive with Q fever antibodies than the reference population (43% vs 15%). Among goat owners, individual and household seropositivity prevalences were positively correlated with the number of goats, the number of positive goats, and the number of goat births on the farm. Q fever should be considered more often in the differential diagnosis of patients with compatible illness, especially those with frequent animal contact.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:609-612)

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