This morning the Michigan Department of Community Health announced that three people in Livingston County Michigan have been diagnosed with of Q fever after drinking raw milk from a dairy herd share program. All three, women in their 30s or 40s, acknowledged obtaining raw milk from the “as yet named” farm. One of the women required prolonged hospitalization for Q fever meningitis.
Q fever is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii, an organism common in farm animals. Infected animals shed the organism in their bodily fluids and people can become infected when they consume raw milk containing by the bacteria. The symptoms of Q fever, a reportable communicable disease in Michigan, can include high fevers (up to 104-105F), severe headache, joint and body aches, fatigue, chills/sweats, non-productive cough, chest pain, nausea and vomiting.