Background Q fever is a widespread zoonotic infection caused by the pathogen Coxiella burnetii that has both acute and chronic manifestations. Q fever may present as a fever of unknown origin (FUO). We examined three cases of Q fever in west Texas and eastern New Mexico: two chronic and one acute that presented as FUO. Q fever usually occurs following exposure to infected animals. Q fever continues to be a diagnostic possibility in patients with FUO and animal exposure in the southwestern United States.
Methods Cases review from medical records at our institution 2000-2006.
Discussion Q fever may present as an acute or chronic febrile illness, either of which can have nonspecific symptoms and signs. Serologic studies are necessary for the diagnosis. Phase I and phase II serology will differentiate between acute and chronic disease. Although somewhat slow and costly, these studies are key to appropriate diagnosis and therapy.
Conclusion Q fever continues to be a diagnostic problem in west Texas and eastern New Mexico.
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