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Presse Med. 2003 Oct 18;32(34):1618-21.

[Q fever, a potential biowarfare agent].

[Article in French]

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Service de maladies infectieuses et tropicales, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière Paris (75).


SEVERAL POSSIBLE METHODS OF TRANSFUSION: Q fever is a zoonosis due to Coxiella burnetii. Its interest as a potential biowarfare agent is in its possible transmission by inhalation of sprayed particles. This form of transmission would probably be used: the inhalation of 1 to 10 bacteria could provoke the development of an infection in humans. Another possible method of transmission in the context of a terrorist act would be the intentional introduction of the bacteria into foodstuff. A DISABLING WEAPON: However, C. burnetii has never been used as a biological weapon. The probability that this germ could be used is very low: indeed, the incubation of Q fever is very long, and the majority of the infections is asymptomatic and mortality is low. In fact C. burnetii would more likely be used as a disabling weapon.

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