NIAID / NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NIAID / NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Q fever bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a fracture through a vacuole in a Vero cell showing replicating Coxiella burnetii bacteria (yellow). Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular bacterium, meaning that it cannot reproduce outside of its host cell. It is the cause of Q fever, and is thought to be the most infectious agent known, with just one bacterium causing disease. Q fever is a disease present in livestock that can be spread to humans by inhalation of contaminated particles. It causes flu-like symptoms, with fever, malaise, headache and nausea. It can progress to pneumonia, which can be fatal. Vero cells are a cell line used in laboratories.
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