Thursday 19 April 2012

Q for Q Fever

Ok, so this post is kind of a stretch as far as my theme is concerned, but give me a break, my entomology dictionary (yes, they do exist see proof) only had 2 and a half pages of Q words and, I wasn't in the mood to drone on about Q for Queen (bug pun did you catch it? No. You're hopeless.).
Do you like the way I cropped out the messy desk?

Fun Facts :

1) Q Fever (Query fever) Is a disease caused by a microbe called Coxiella burnetii. It was first described in slaughterhouse workers in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Its distribution is worldwide, New Zealand being the exception. (source: Wikipedia)

2) In Australia, C. burnetii occurs in bandicoots (so very cute), which is circulated by ticks (Haemaphysalis humerosa and Ixodes holocyclus, not so cute). Kangaroos can also be infected as well as domestic livestock. Other animals that can be infected include: sheep, goats, cattle, dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and ticks.

3) Q Fever affects mainly the heart, liver and lungs. Humans are mostly infected by inhalation. Drinking raw milk has also caused infection in rare cases. (source: MedlinePlus, NIH website)

4) People at highest risk for this infection are: farmers, slaughterhouse workers, sheep and dairy workers, and veterinarians.

NN6699 : Deer Tick by Stuart Meek
© Copyright Stuart Meek and licensed for reuse
under this Creative Commons Licence

5) Symptoms: It takes about 20 days after exposure to the bacteria for symptoms to surface. Though people can have Q fever without knowing it and can be mistake for a mild flu.

 Acute Q fever  symptoms can include:

Fever, Fatigue, Muscle pain, Chills and sweating, Headache, Cough, Shortness of breath, Clay-colored stools,General feeling of sickness and loss of appetite

Chronic Q fever symptoms can include :

Chills, Fatigue, Night sweats, Prolonged fever, Shortness of breath

Several complications can arise from this disease; one of the most common being pneumonia.

6) If untreated, symptoms can last 2-6 weeks and most people make a full recovery, becoming immune to repeat infections. However, people develop chronic infections which affect the heart (endocarditis) or the liver (hepatitis). Some people develop chronic fatigue, which can last for years after the initial infection. 

7) Treatment: Q Fever can be treated successfully with antibiotics with early detection.Q fever is rarely fatal however patients with existing heart disease are at a greater risk.

So that was all the boring stuff, keep reading...

Q Fever as a Biological Weapon

8) Q Fever is interesting because of its potential as a biological weapon. Apparently, millitaries favor Coxiella burnetii because it is highly contagious and for its incapacitating affects rather than lethal affect on human populations. 

The United States investigated this possibility in  the 1950s at Fort Detrick and Dugway Proving Ground (scratching Fort Detrick and DPG off my vacation list). The experiments were designed to determine the median infective dose (dose required to produce effect in 50% of a test population). Human trials were conducted on volunteers called Whitecoats (enlisted personnel who volunteered for medical trials were nicknamed "Whitecoats"). Volunteers who developed symptoms were treated with antibiotics. All recovered. Operation Whitecoat continued for almost two decades (sources:, Wikipedia).  

Oh snap! How the heck did I get WAY of topic? But while I'm at it, I'll leave you with one last Q word....yes, it has to be... QUEEN.

My favorite rendition (: 


  1. I'm still recovering from the shock of realising what I thought was an attractive shiny bead was a bloated tick.

  2. I am dizzy from the tick photo too... in fact i just passed out.

    Nice post, making it happen...Quite Well!
    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
    My New Book:
    Retro-Zombie: Art and Words

  3. ewwww! that tick is absolutely disgusting.. and that you call it Fun Facts when it's actually not such good stuff or fun at all, makes me giggle! LOL

  4. Okay, now that's interesting Elise! I suffer from what is called 'White Coat Syndrome' it must have gotten it's name from this experiment. All it means is that my blood pressure rises, for no apparent reason when near doctors, dentists and other health care professionals. I can now understand why it is called 'White Coat Syndrome'.

  5. Amanda: Not all ticks bloat up that way, but many do and yes it's revolting. I have a small running list of insects I strongly dislike, ticks are on it right between mosquitoes and bedbugs.

    Retro-Zombie: LOL! *fans R-Z* (:

    Cristina: Guess I'm not fooling you am I (; but I love the fact you keep coming back! :D

    C.M.Brown: Wow. I never knew there was a White Coat Syndrome but I can see the connection. That is interesting. Can't be fun for you though.

  6. Hi Elise, first time visitor here. Great post! I enjoyed it very much. Except for the image of the tick after feeding. Ugh! Love the muppet video too.

    1. Thanks Stephen for stopping by. I'm going to check out your site real soon!

  7. This sounds exactly like something I would have seen on the X-Files back in the 90's. I'm not surprised that the government conducted research tests on the biological effectiveness of Q Fever.

    1. I used to love the X-Files! I remember seeing the movie on the big screen.

  8. never heard of Q Fever but I'm sure glad I'm aware of it now:)
    Happy A-Zing!

  9. The tick was gross. Never heard of Q fever. Thanks for the lesson. :)

  10. Q fever is yet another angle to write a killer story. Very cool. And love the video. :)

    1. I should totally charge for wip ideas! (payable with gummy bears)

  11. Q-fever of a different kind has definitely hit the blogosphere today! It's amazing how many new Q words I've seen... some of them totally unpronounceable...

    I loooove Bohemian Rhapsody - a great song, especially the version by The Braids (dunno if you've heard it)...
    Happy Q-Day!

    1. I've learned some pretty neat Q words today too!
      Oooh, and no I have not hear the version by The Braids but will check it out! (:

  12. That tick is obscene!

    Lucky escape for NZ, I wonder why it never made it there, it's only across the water from Brisbane.

    1. I asked myself the same question! I have no idea.


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