At least 167 suspected and 32 confirmed cases of Q fever were reported in recent weeks in the Los Lagos region, as of Thursday, January 25. Of those confirmed cases, 29 were reported in Osorno province, and three in Llanquihue province.
Q fever is caused by the Coxiella burnetii bacteria, which can be transmitted via the milk, feces, or urine of infected cows, sheep, and goats. The disease can also be transmitted by inhaling dust that has been contaminated with the pathogen.
Symptoms of Q fever typically include fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Morality rates are low (under 2 percent), but untreated Q fever can lead to a chronic and potentially fatal infection.
Individuals in the above areas are advised avoid contact with farm animals and wash hands frequently. Avoid the consumption of non-pasteurized milk and milk products. Individuals who believe they may have contracted Q fever are advised to seek medical attention.