The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Q Fever Working Group have issued the first-ever recommendations for diagnosis and management of Q fever.
Q fever is caused by Coxiella burnetii and can lead to acute or chronic disease. People usually become infected by inhaling aerosolized particles from contaminated soil or animal waste, according to the CDC's report. The agency said that cases of Q fever in the U.S. have been increasing, from 17 cases in 2000 to 167 cases in 2008, but that the disease remains difficult to diagnose.
The authors of the report said it is intended to assist U.S. clinicians in the following areas:
--recognizing common epidemiologic features and clinical manifestations of Q fever,
--considering Q fever as the cause of a patient's illness if appropriate,
--obtaining relevant history and diagnostic tests for Q fever,
--identifying the limitations and utility of laboratory diagnostic testing,
--making treatment decisions based on epidemiologic and clinical evidence,
--recognizing that doxycycline is the treatment of choice for all patients with severe illness,
--recognizing potential severe manifestations of acute and chronic Q fever and understanding appropriate monitoring and management strategies,
--managing infected children and pregnant women appropriately,
--providing effective risk communication for persons at high risk for Q fever exposure and
--reporting suspect and confirmed cases to appropriate public health officials.
The full report was published March 29 by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and is available free of charge online.