Article Abstract

Pulmonary manifestations of Q fever: analysis of 38 patients

Authors: Diana J. Kelm, Darin B. White, Hind J. Fadel, Jay H. Ryu, Fabien Maldonado, Misbah Baqir


Background: Lung involvement in both acute and chronic Q fever is not well described with only a few reported cases of pseudotumor or pulmonary fibrosis in chronic Q fever. The aim of this study was to better understand the pulmonary manifestations of Q fever.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with diagnosis of Q fever at Mayo Clinic Rochester. A total of 69 patients were initially identified between 2001 and 2014. Thirty-eight patients were included in this study as 3 were pediatric patients, 20 did not meet serologic criteria for Q fever, and 8 did not have imaging available at time of initial diagnosis. Descriptive analysis was conducted using JMP software.
Results: The median age was 57 years [interquartile range (IQR) 43, 62], 84% from the Midwest, and 13% worked in an occupation involving animals. The most common presentation was fevers (61%). Respiratory symptoms, such as cough, were noted in only 4 patients (11%). Twelve patients (29%) had abnormal imaging studies attributed to Q fever. Three patients (25%) with acute Q fever had findings of consolidation, lymphadenopathy, pleural effusions, and nonspecific pulmonary nodules. Radiographic findings of chronic Q fever were seen in 9 patients (75%) and included consolidation, ground-glass opacities, pleural effusions, lymphadenopathy, pulmonary edema, and lung pseudotumor.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that pulmonary manifestations are uncommon in Q fever but include cough and consolidation for acute Q fever and radiographic findings of pulmonary edema with pleural effusions, consolidation, and pseudotumor in those with chronic Q fever.