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Q Fever in the United States: Summary of Case Reports from Two National Surveillance Systems, 2000–2012

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  • Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Vector-borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis historically associated with exposure to infected livestock. This study summarizes cases of Q fever, a notifiable disease in the United States, reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through two national surveillance systems with onset during 2000–2012. The overall incidence rate during this time was 0.38 cases per million persons per year. The reported case fatality rate was 2.0%, and the reported hospitalization rate was 62%. Most cases (61%) did not report exposure to cattle, goats, or sheep, suggesting that clinicians should consider Q fever even in the absence of livestock exposure. The prevalence of drinking raw milk among reported cases of Q fever (8.4%) was more than twice the national prevalence for the practice. Passive surveillance systems for Q fever are likely impacted by underreporting and underdiagnosis because of the nonspecific presentation of Q fever.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to F. Scott Dahlgren, Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Division of Vector-borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, MS A-30, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail: iot0@cdc.gov

Authors' addresses: F. Scott Dahlgren, Jennifer H. McQuiston, Robert F. Massung, and Alicia D. Anderson, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: iot0@cdc.gov, fzh7@cdc.gov, rmassung@cdc.gov, and aha5@cdc.gov.

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