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Coxiella burnetii

Coxiella burnetii

C. burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Gamma Proteobacteria
Order: Legionellales
Family: Coxiellaceae
Genus: Coxiella
Species: C. burnetii
Binomial name
Coxiella burnetii
(Derrick 1939)
Philip 1948

Coxiella burnetii is a species of intracellular, pathogenic bacteria, and is the causative agent of Q fever. The genus Coxiella is morphologically similar to the rickettsia, but with a variety of genetic and physiological differences. C. burnetii are small Gram negative bacteria with two growth phases, as well as a spore form which lies idle in soil.[1] It can survive standard disinfectants, and is resistant to many other environmental changes.[2]


The ID50 (the dose needed to infect 50% of experimental subjects) is one via inhalation— i.e. inhalation of one organism will yield disease in 50% of the population. Disease occurs in two states: An acute state presents with headaches, chills, and respiratory symptoms, and an insidious chronic stage.

While most infections clear up spontaneously, treatment with tetracycline or doxycycline appears to reduce the symptomatic duration and reduce the likelihood of chronic infection. A combination of erythromycin and rifampin is highly effective in curing and prevention of disease and so is vaccination with Q-vax vaccine (CSL).


  1. ^ Ryan KJ; Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology, 4th ed., McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9. 
  2. ^ Sankaran, Neeraja (2000). "Coxiella burnetii". Microbes and people : an A-Z of microorganisms in our lives. Phoenix, Arizona: The Oryx Press. 72. ISBN 1-57356-217-3.  "In contrast to other rickettsiae, which are highly sensitive and easily killed by chemical disinfectants and changes in their surroundings, C. burnetii is highly resistant" & Q fever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Center for Infectious Diseases; Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases; Viral and Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch (2003-02013). Retrieved on 2006-05-24. "The organisms are resistant to heat, drying, and many common disinfectants."
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Coxiella_burnetii". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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