An unusual presentation of a known condition: Q fever manifesting as an acute abdomen

An unusual presentation of a known condition: Q fever manifesting as an acute abdomen

Elisabeth Ng1 and Tunde Ibrahim2
1Department of Medicine, Alfred Health, Victoria, Australia
2Department of Medicine, Goulburn Valley Health, Victoria, Australia

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Q fever is an endemic zoonotic infection in Australia cause by Coxiella burnetii. It has been recognised in other parts of the world, especially among livestock rearing occupations, stock yard and abattoir workers. Majority (65%) of patients infected with C.burnetti are asymptomatic while symptoms similar to those of respiratory and hepatitis are the most common making diagnosis difficult in the early stages.
We report a case of a young man who was exposed to and infected with Q fever as an occupational hazard. He presented in an unusual way with the predominant initial symptoms of abdominal pain, fever, hepatitis and sterile peritonitis necessitating an emergency surgical procedure to explore a suspected surgical abdomen. Respiratory involvement ensued only several days later. The diagnosis of Q fever was confirmed with positive convalescent serology phase II IgM and IgG antibodies to Coxiella burnetii. A marked clinical response to doxycycline pending serological confirmation was supportive of this highly suspected diagnosis in an at-risk patient.

Keywords: Q fever, acute abdomen

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How to cite this article:
Elisabeth Ng and Tunde Ibrahim. An unusual presentation of a known condition: Q fever manifesting as an acute abdomen. International Journal of Case Reports, 2019 4:59. DOI: 10.28933/ijcr-2019-01-0506


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