Apart from occasional abortions in sheep and cattle, C. burnetii generally causes no disease in most of its hosts.

The main exception is man, in whom infection can cause:

Traditionally, veterinary surgeons, abattoir workers and farmers were most at risk of infection, but more recently urban outbreaks have occurred in the UK where the source of infection was difficult to determine. In North America there have been several reports of Q fever in man contracted from parturient and aborting cats.

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