By D. Van Metre, Colorado State University Extension
Q fever is an infectious disease of animals and humans caused by a species of bacteria called Coxiella burnetii. This organism is very durable – it can survive for months in the environment. Sheep, goats, and cattle can carry the organism. The bacteria can be shed by these animals in feces, urine, milk, and in the birthing fluids and membranes. Animals that carry this organism and shed it into the environment usually do not show any signs of disease.