Detection of Coxiella burnetii specific DNA in blood samples from Japanese patients with chronic nonspecific symptoms by nested polymerase chain reaction

The nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used for direct
species- specific detection of Coxiella burnetii in blood
samples from 52 patients with chronic nonspecific symptoms,
but no diagnostic or treatment history of Q fever. All
patients had been in ill-health with general fatigue, muscle
and joint pain, headache, etc., for one to more than 10 years.
Seventeen (33%) showed evidence of C. burnetii infection,
based on amplification of 438-bp fragments specific to C.
burnetii by nested PCR, and 94% of positive patients reported
close contact with animals. In contrast, five (9.6%) of 52
samples from healthy adult controls and two (2.8%) of 70 cord
blood samples were positive by nested PCR. These data suggest
a high prevalence of infection among adult patients with long
term, nonspecific complaints who live in close contact with
animals and the possible existence of a chronic post-acute Q
fever syndrome in Japan.

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