|Q fever (caused by Coxiella burnetti) is thought to account for approximately one percent of community acquired pneumonia in the UK
each year and can result in serious complications such as endocarditis.
The main reservoir is sheep and other animals that can shed massive numbers in placental tissues. The main reservoirs are sheep, goats and cattle.
Transmission of Q fever occurs primarily
through inhalation of contaminated aerosols. The organism is robust and can survive in dust and animal litter for many weeks and in dried
blood for at least 6 months at room temperature.
The most infectious animal materials are the fluids of birth and afterbirth, followed by
blood, milk, urine and feces. Such infectious materials can be derived from livestock as above or from domestic animals, particularly parturient cats.
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