Q fever is a zoonotic disease caused by a rickettsia Coxiella burnetii. Since its first description in 1937, the disease has been found to be present in most countries of the world. Serological evidences of Q fever in humans and coxiellosis in animals were reported in Japan in the 1950s, however, systematic studies of the disease did not begin until the report of isolation of C. burnetii from an acute Q fever patient in 1989. In addition to the extensive information about epidemiology of the disease, the understanding of Japanese isolates of C. burnetii is increasing rapidly in recent years. In this review, the epidemiology of the disease along with some characteristics of isolates of C. burnetii in Japan is summarized in five sections, i.e., coxiellosis, Q fever, modes of spread of the infection, laboratory diagnosis of the infection and some characteristics of Japanese isolates. This review includes some recent, unpublished data from our and other groups.
1998 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science