Variation in immune response genes and chronic Q fever. Concepts: preliminary test with post-Q fever fatigue syndrome Academic Article uri icon


  • Acute primary Q fever is followed by various chronic sequelae. These include subacute Q fever endocarditis, granulomatous reactions in various organs or a prolonged debilitating post-infection fatigue syndrome (QFS). The causative organism, Coxiella burnetii, persists after an initial infection. The differing chronic outcomes may reflect variations within cytokine and accessory immune control genes which affect regulation of the level of persistence. As a preliminary test of the concept we have genotyped QFS patients and controls for gene variants spanning 15 genes and also examined HLA-B and DR frequencies. QFS patients exhibited a significantly increased frequency of HLA-DR-11 compared with controls and also significant differences in allelic variant frequencies within the NRAMP, and IFNgamma genes. These results indicate a possible genetic role in the expression of overt chronic Q fever. Further studies will be undertaken to increase sample sizes, to survey other forms of chronic Q fever and to examine Q fever patients who have recovered without sequelae.


  • Helbig, KJ
  • Heatley, SL
  • Harris, RJ
  • Mullighan, CG
  • Bardy, PG
  • Marmion, BP

publication date

  • January 2003