Journal of IiME Volume 1 Issue 2 www.investinme.org Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after Q fever By Dr. Dragan Ledina Department of Infectious Diseases, Split University Hospital Center, Split; Croatia Summary Background: Q fever is a common and acute but rare chronic zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii. Its acute form manifests as atypical pneumonia, flu-like syndrome, or hepatitis. Some authors observed symptoms of chronic fatigue in a small number of patients after the acute phase of Q fever; in many cases serological assay confi rmed the activity of Coxiella burnetii infection. The effect of antibiotic therapy on post-Q-fever fatigue syndrome has not been studied in south-east Europe thus far. Case Reports: Three patients are presented with post-Q-fever fatigue syndrome. All fulfilled the CDC criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome. IgA antibodies to phase I of the growth cycle of Coxiella burnetii were positive in two patients and negative in one. Two patients were treated with doxycycline for two weeks in the acute phase of illness and one with a combination of erythromycin and gentamycin. After 4–12 months they developed post-Q-fever fatigue syndrome and were treated with intracellular active antibiotics (fl uoroquinolones and tetracycline) for 3–12 months. Effi cacy of the treatment was observed in two patients, but in one patient the results were not encouraging. Conclusions: These results suggest the possibility of the involvement of Coxiella burnetii infection in the evolution of chronic fatigue syndrome. This is the fi rst report on post-Q-fever fatigue syndrome in Mediterranean countries. Evidence of IgA antibodies to phase I of the growth cycle of Coxiella burnetii is not a prerequisite for establishing a diagnosis of CFS. The recommendation of antibiotic treatment in post-Q-fever fatigue syndrome requires further investigation. keywords: chronic fatigue syndrome • Coxiella burnetii • post-Q fever fatigue syndrome • antibiotic treatment BACKGROUND Q fever is one of the most common anthropozoonoses in southeast Europe. It is caused by Coxiella burnetii, an intracellular pathogen whose classifi cation has been changed from the order of Rickettsiaceae to the order of Legionellales [1]. Human infection develops after inhalation of contaminated aerosol or consumption of unpasteurized milk. It is rarely transmitted by vectors, transfusions of contaminated blood, or transplancentally [2,3]. Recently, a major role in disease spread was attributed to air currents [4]. About 60% of infections caused by Coxiella burnetii are asymptomatic [2]. Acute infection usually presents as a febrile state, pneumonia, or hepatitis, while other organs are less commonly affected. Coxiella burnetii is endemic in rural, coastal, and noncoastal areas of southern Croatia and is associated with stockbreeding. Acute Q fever in Split-Dalmatia County (470,000 inhabitants) is most commonly presented with both pneumonia and hepatitis (60.0%), followed by pneumonia (25.8%), hepatitis (9%), and nonspecific febrile illnesses (5.2%). During the period from 1985 to 2002, 155 acute Q fever cases were hospitalized at the Split University Hospital, with a mean annual incidence of 1.82/100,000/year. All cases were verifi ed by serologic testing with C. burnetii phase II antigen as is routinely done in all patients with clinical syndrome of atypical pneumonia that live in endemic areas [5]. In the northern part of Croatia, Coxiella burnetii causes 6.45% of all interstitial pneumonias that are serologically verified [6]. In its chronic form, Q fever mostly presents as endocarditis, infl ammation of intravascular implants, osteoarthritis, and chronic hepatitis [7]. During a follow-up of convalescent patients after acute Q we noticed that some had symptoms that were consistent with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The diagnostic criteria for CFS include fatigue for six months or more together with at least four of the following symptoms: lack of concentration or/and memory that interferes with normal activities, sore throat, tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes, joint pain without swelling, muscle pain, headache, no refreshing sleep, and malaise lasting longer than 24 hours after exertion [8]. CFS is twice as common in females as in males, and it is most common between 25–45 years of age. The cause of CFS is not fully understood. There are three hypotheses about the cause of this impairment: postinfectious, immunological, and depression [9,10]. Penttila and associates found that in Australia, 20% of patients after acute Q fever develop post-Q-fever fatigue syndrome (QFS). Increased concentrations of IL6 and interferon- as well as lowered concentrations of IL-2 that are found after stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells in cultures from these patients are presumed to be implicated in the pathogenesis of QFS [11]. The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the existence of CFS after Q fever in Croatia and its incidence and to show the effects of antimicrobial therapy of patients with QFS. We describe three patients who had QFS. During the period from January 2000 to December 2004, 90 patients with acute Q fever were treated at the Split University Hospital and we observed 3/90 patients with post-Q-fever fatigue syndrome. After the diagnosis of QFS was established, these patients were treated with antibiotics. They were asked to fill out questionnaires assessing their clinical condition before (continued on page 31) Invest in ME Charity Nr 1114035 Page 30/72

31 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication