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Acute Q fever in third trimester pregnancy
  1. Maxwell Braddick1,
  2. Marion L Woods1,2 and
  3. Suji Prabhaharan3
  1. 1Infectious Diseases, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3General Medicine, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Maxwell Braddick; mbraddick{at}


A 29-year-old gravida 2 para 1 woman presented at 29 weeks gestation with fevers, back pain, thrombocytopenia and hepatitis. PCR testing of blood samples detected Coxiella burnetii and paired serology later confirmed the diagnosis of acute Q fever in pregnancy. The patient was treated empirically with oral clarithromycin and experienced a symptomatic and biochemical improvement. Therapy was changed to oral trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole but was complicated by a delayed cutaneous reaction, prompting recommencement of clarithromycin. Therapy continued until delivery of a healthy girl at 39 weeks and 3 days. Q fever in pregnancy is likely under-reported and is associated with the development of chronic infection and obstetric complications. Treatment with clarithromycin is an alternative to trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole in the setting of drug intolerance.

  • infectious diseases
  • tropical medicine (infectious disease)
  • pregnancy
  • exposures
  • materno-foetal medicine

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  • Contributors MB prepared the manuscript under the supervision and guidance of MLW. Review of the manuscript and expertise on obstetric medicine was provided by SP.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.