Bacterium That Causes Q Fever Linked to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
A recent study published in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), explains that the bacterium that causes Q fever, an infectious disease that humans contract from animals, is associated with an increased risk of lymphoma.
Q fever is caused by infection with Coxiella burnetii, a bacterium primarily transmitted through the excrement of cattle, sheep, and goats. Approximately 3 percent of healthy adults in the United States and 10-20 percent of those in high-risk occupations such as veterinarians and farmers have antibodies for C. burnetii, suggesting previous infection.1 Symptoms of Q fever vary from person to person and can be acute and resolve spontaneously, or chronic and persistent. Because some patients have been reported to also suffer from lymphoma, researchers believed that this type of cancer could be a risk factor for Q fever. However, the experience of one patient prompted doctors to consider the opposite - that the infection might actually cause the lymphoma.