BACKGROUND: This study aimed to determine short- and long-term physical and psychosocial impact of Coxiella burnetii infection in three distinct entities: Q-fever fatigue syndrome (QFS), chronic Q-fever, and patients with past acute Q-fever without QFS or chronic Q-fever.
METHODS: Integrative data analysis was performed, combining original data from eight studies measuring quality of life (QoL), fatigue, physical and social functioning with identical validated questionnaires, from three months to eight years after onset infection. Linear trends in each outcome were compared between Q-fever groups using multilevel linear regression analyses to account for repeated measures within patients.
RESULTS: Data included 3947 observations of 2313 individual patients (228 QFS, 135 chronic Q-fever and 1950 patients with past acute Q-fever). In the first years following infection, physical and psychosocial impact was highest among QFS patients, and remained high without significant improvements over time. In chronic Q-fever patients, QoL and physical functioning worsened significantly over time. Levels of fatigue and social participation in patients with past acute Q-fever improved significantly over time.
CONCLUSION: The impact differs greatly between the three Q-fever groups. It is important that physicians are aware of these differences, in order to provide relevant care for each patient group.