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Evidence of Coxiella burnetii infection is common among certain domestic animals; infected animals can shed large amounts of environmentally stable C.burnetii. C. burnetii is extremely infectious for humans, and naturally occurring aerosols, as well as other contaminated sources, appear to be responsible for widely dispersed infections of children and adults. Relevant features of what is known about the organism and the human disease it causes are reviewed. Recent findings and areas requiring further investigation are discussed in order to promote a better understanding of the role of C. burnetii as a potentially common, infectious contaminant of the environment.
Coxiella burnetii, Q fever, microbial contaminant, environment, aerosols
Supervisory Research Microbiologist, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA
Associate Director for Laboratory Science, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA