By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

ZOONOTIC DISEASE. White goats feed on plants at the Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija on April 5, 2024. Infectious disease expert Rontgene Solante on Monday (June 24, 2024) said Query (Q) fever, a zoonotic disease common among cattle, goats, and sheep, could be transmitted from animals to humans with mild symptoms, but human to human transmission is rare. (PNA photo by Ma. Teresa P. Montemayor)

MANILA – Cross transmission or transmission from infected animals to humans of Query (Q) fever causes mild symptoms only, an infectious disease expert said Monday.

Q fever is a zoonotic disease common among animals in reservoirs like cattle, goats, and sheep. It is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetti.

In a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon interview, Philippine College of Physicians President and infectious disease expert Rontgene Solante said human-to-human transmission of Q fever is rare.

“Most of the time when there is a cross-transmission from animals to humans, it rarely causes severe infection,” he said.

“Usually, 60 to 70 percent maybe, this is a self-limited disease na maski hindi ka mag-antibiotic puwedeng mawawala din siya (that could disappear on its own even if you do not take antibiotics),” he added.

Its usual symptoms include fever, headache, and body pains. It could be detected through blood examination that is Q fever-sensitive.

Solante noted that individuals who feed and care for such animals are most vulnerable to Q fever and their high-intensity exposure could lead to severe health problems like endocarditis or inflammation of the heart and/or swelling of the brain.

Citing that animal waste is the usual source of contamination, Solante advised those who handle cattle and goats nationwide to wear gloves and face masks as particles of dried animal waste can enter the lungs.

“During slaughter, wear proper attire that would protect them from fluids coming from the animals,” he said.

Last week, the Bureau of Animal Industry of the Department of Agriculture reported the first case of Q fever in the country.

Solante said that no Q fever patients were brought to the San Lazaro Hospital and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for treatment to date. (PNA)