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Q Fever Endocarditis and C. burnetii Infections in Greece

Coxiella burnetii, the bacteria that cause Q fever. Credit: NIAID

A new paper in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases finds serologic evidence of C. burnetii infection throughout Greece and identifies a new C. burnetii genotype in the aortic valve of a patient with Q fever endocarditis.

Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis caused by an obligate intracellular bacterium, Coxiella burnetii. Although the classification of C. burnetii by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a potential bioterrorism agent resulted in the disease becoming reportable in many countries, Q fever is not considered a public health problem in Greece, and few cases have been recorded.

Preliminary data show that physicians in Greece are not as familiar with Q fever because most of the suspected cases were in patients without bovine contact. C. burnetii infection is suspected mostly in culture-negative serious endocarditis case-patients. Recently, it was found that C. burnetii genotype 32 is circulating in sheep and goat in 8 different areas of Greece. The clinical manifestations of Q fever depend, at least in part, on the C. burnetii genotype. However, although acute clinical manifestations are strain-specific, all genotypes have been associated with endocarditis.

Q Fever Endocarditis and a New Genotype of Coxiella burnetii, Greece. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Volume 26, Number 10, October 2020, Early Release September 07, 2020.

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