Rickettsia or Q Fever was discovered in Australia in 1935 by two Brisbane doctors whilst comparing notes. Brisbane doctors were treating many Abattoir workers who were suffering from a combination of a prolonged flu attack, combined with symptoms similar to that of typhoid. Because the nature of the illness was similar to an epidemic, research was handed over to the Queensland Health Department.
After years of research, it was established that some kind of organism was affecting the Abattoir workers. Thinking it was a type of virus, instead their research leads them to discover tiny clusters of Rickettsia bacteria. The species took the name of “Coxiella Burnetti”, named after Frank Burnet’s discovery of the organism, who was later the first laboratory victim of the disease. It was a significant triumph of Infectious Disease research carried out in Australia of a previously unrecognised disease.
After results of the bacterium and its antibodies were published, the organism began to show up all over the world. This lead to explain mystifying epidemics in Europe during World War II when thousands of troops on both sides were struck down with an unexplained disease, particularly in Greece and Italy.1 Some 1,600 soldiers who were returning from Italy to the United States were infected by Q Fever from winds blowing at an airport.
The most significant source of human infection are cattle, sheep and goats. Currently 400 to 600 human infections of Q fever are notified in Australia each year. Rickettsia or Q Fever is an acute illness with fever, chills, muscle pains and other occasional long term complications. Initial symptoms can reappear or may even persist. The micro-organism responsible “Coxiella Burnetti” (Rickettsia) is carried by ticks. It is then spread by infected livestock – cattle, sheep and goats and is transmitted to humans, by contact with animal faeces and urine, or by inhaling dust from infected premises.2 Q Fever or Rickettsia is a zoonosis type of disease.
Rickettsia is a genus of micro-organisms, which are parasitic in lice and similar insects. The bite of the host is the means of transmitting the organisms, some of which are responsible for the typhus group of fevers.3 It is a pleomorphic coccobacillus that is smaller than other rickettsias.4 Pleomorphic means that it occurs in more than one form and that there are several distinct types of species.3
How is Rickettsia or Q Fever carried?
Q Fever differs from other Rickettsial diseases in that it is caused by inhalation of infected particles, not from a tick bite.4 It is an occupational hazard particularly for abattoir workers, meat inspectors, shearers, wool sorters, laboratory technicians and veterinarians. There is no endemic reservoir in Victoria, Australia but the organism is commonly introduced by interstate stock.2
Rickettsia can be contacted in urban areas as ticks are carried by a variety of warm-blooded animals and are carried into our back gardens mainly by bandicoots and spiny anteaters (Echidnas), even in suburban Melbourne. They can also be carried by kangaroos, wallabies, possums, koalas, dingos, rats, mice, ducks, magpies, chickens, reptiles, and even domesticated animals such as cats and dogs.1 Ticks can be found on humans.
What are Ticks and how do they make us unwell?
Ticks are born to be parasites and are totally adapted to this lifestyle. There are around 70 species of ticks in Australia. Ticks are arachnids and are therefore in the same family as spiders. Their mouths are specialised to pierce flesh on host animals and to suck blood.
Ticks live in the ground where their eggs incubate in moist humid leafy environments. They then hatch into larvae where they climb vegetation waiting to jump onto a host. After engorging themselves with blood, they drop to the ground to moult. The larva then becomes a nymph, which crawls onto vegetation awaiting a new host repeating the whole process. Once the nymph moults and becomes an adult, they go into a mating cycle. They male dies after mating and the female finds a third host.
This is where the danger is as the female adult releases toxins via its saliva, which enters the host. The engorged female then drops to the ground and spends three weeks laying 2,500-3,000 eggs before dying. This whole process takes one year depending on temperature, humidity and moisture.1 Removal of ticks needs to be done with care as toxins will be released into the host if ticks can be squeezed. To remove ticks, use tweezers and carefully slide each side of the open blades over either side of the tick and gently lever it outwards without squeezing it.5 Ticks have long barbs which need to be extracted carefully.
How do we come in contact with Rickettsia or Q Fever Micro-organism?
Cattle excrete the micro-organism in their milk and faeces. Humans become infected usually by inhaling dust that is contaminated by infected animal material; and sometimes from drinking infected milk, as the Rickettsia are somewhat resistant to most methods of pasteurisation.7 The high-temperature short-time method of pasteurisation is the only way to destroy the micro-organisms in milk.
“Coxiella Burnetti” is extremely virulent as even one bacterium can cause infection. It is extremely resistant to inactivation and can survive for months in dust, wool, hides, clothing, straw, packing materials, faeces particles and is commonly spread by aerosol water spray. The organism localises in the mammary glands, uterus and faeces of animals.4 Disinfection of contaminated articles may be achieved by using one tablespoon of bleach per litre of water.7
Humans are infected by inhalation of “Coxiella Burnetti”. It is not known why chronic Q Fever develops in certain patients.4 Q Fever is not usually transmitted directly from person to person, although it has been transmitted through blood and bone marrow donations.7
What are the Symptoms of Rickettsia or Q Fever?
Early signs of Q Fever include severe headaches, high fever, chills, muscle pain and general malaise.1 After an incubation period from two days up to four weeks; symptoms suddenly appear including fever, prostration, cough, and muscle and chest pain. X-rays can show inflammation of the lung and occasionally the heart can be affected, although this can take several months.6 Others symptoms include dry non-productive cough, pleurisy, anorexia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.4
The disease can be acute or chronic and can relapse but is rarely fatal.5 Complications of meningitis and inflammation of the heart may arise but these are uncommon. About half the cases with symptoms will have pneumonia evident in chest X-rays.7 Q Fever is frequently misdiagnosed as influenza. Recent Research in France with 92 cases of Chronic Q Fever collected by the French National Reference Centre for Rickettsioses from 1982 to 1990 showed that Chronic Q Fever occurs more frequently in city dwellers than in rural inhabitants, and exposure to domestic ruminants and raw milk is an important factor.
Of these people 20.2% had immuno-compromising conditions and 88.4% had underlying heart disease or vascular disease, which appeared to be the most important risk factors. The mortality rate in these patients with endocarditis was as high as 23.5%. Of 84 patients, 57 cases had endocarditis, three had vascular prosthesis infection, three had aneurismal infection, three had osteoarthritis, four had lung localisations, nine had asymptomatic problems, three had hepatitis and two had cutaneous forms of disease.8
How does Rickettsia or Q Fever affect Physiology?
In chronic Rickettsia, findings consistent with endocarditis and hepatitis are more frequently found. Findings in endocarditis include vegetation on heart valves including the aorta, enlargement of the liver and spleen, arterial emboli and purpuric (purple) skin rashes. Findings in hepatitis include fever, malaise, enlargement of the liver, and occasionally jaundice. After natural infection, protective immunity is dependent on both cell-mediated immunity and humoral immune responses.
Tests show presence of antibodies to “Coxiella Burnetti”, which exists in two antigenic states, Phase I virulent and Phase II avirulent. Acute Q Fever will show up in complete blood count pathology tests as elevated white blood count in about 30% of cases. Liver Function tests can show levels of transaminases elevated two to three times. There is also four-fold rise in complement-fixing antibody titer against phase II antigen. Chronic Q Fever shows in the complement-fixing antibody titer against phase I greater than or equal to 1:200 or phase I IgA (equal to 50) or IgG (equal to 800) greater than or equal to phase II titer. Other tests done to detect Q Fever show granulomas of the liver by ultrasound, meningitis findings in cerebral-spinal fluid by lumbar puncture, elevated white blood count mainly in the monocytes and protein elevation.4
Immunological memory can be demonstrated by measuring the amount of antibody in serum, called antibody titer. After initial contact with an antigen, there is a period of several days during which no antibody is present. Then there is a slow rise in antibody titer, first IgM and then IgG, followed by a gradual decline. This is called the Primary response. Memory cells may remain for decades. Every time the same antigen is encountered again, there is a rapid proliferation of memory cells. The antibody titer is far greater than during the primary response and is mainly IgG antibodies. This accelerated, more intense response is called Secondary response. Antibodies produced during the secondary response have a higher affinity for the antigen than those secreted during the primary response and are more successful at disposing it.9
Results also show increased Interleukin-2 Receptor levels, which shows secretion by T cells to co-stimulate the proliferation of helper T-cells, cytotoxic T cells, and B cells, which assist in the activation of natural killer cells.9 The normal range of the Interleukin-2 Receptor levels is between 710 – 1,980 pg / mL. Anything over this range shows activity in this area.
What other Illness can Rickettsia lead to?
Rickettsia may lead to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Candida, Infectious Mononucleosis, Epstein-Barr Virus, Glandular Fever, Ross River Fever, chronic Hepatitis, Hepatic Encephalopathy, Encephalitis, Osteomyelitis and Pneumonia, if they have not suffered from these already. These people may have already had Glandular Fever, Ross River Fever or even the Epstein Barr Virus, which perhaps makes them more prone to Q Fever than normal healthy people with strong immune systems, as it appears that not everyone is prone to getting Q Fever on exposure unless, of course, they have prior immunity to it.
For a fast and effective protocol on how to treat Chronic Fatigue, Candida and other pathogens that require you to clean up the underlying causes of these pathogens read the book.
1. After pre-checks, have the client describe having Q Fever or Rickettsia and ask them to describe their symptoms, how they are feeling and any other complaints they may have. Pause lock until no further indicator change on challenging More mode.
Challenge Chronic Fatigue / Virus mode (Em 13 1/4) and pause lock if priority. Challenge verbally whether it is Chronic Fatigue or Virus is priority and pause lock (may be both). Also check Bacteria mode (Em 14) and pause lock if indicator change. (Q Fever is caused by bacterium).
2. Check for Deep Level Switching, check the Amygdala, Limbic systems and Corpus Callosum and correct. Find emotions related and age recess. Also re-check at the beginning and end of each session.
3. Challenge Seven Chi Keys and AP Figure 8’s and correct priorities if necessary.
4. Do a 14 muscle assessment to see which organ systems are affected and chart on Five Element chart. DD and find emotions to correct. Re-check 14 muscle assessment at the start of each session to ensure that corrections are holding. If not, DD and find emotions to correct each muscle that is not in balance.
5. Challenge Reactivity mode and pause lock indicator change. Hold Reactor mode and challenge Organ, Gland, Hormone, specific muscle modes, etc. When you find priority, go through alarm points to find which organ or gland system is the Reactor. Challenge Anatomy and Physiology modes. Scan appropriate pages of anatomy, physiology, list of hormones, etc as necessary. Find Reactives via the alarm points and correct with DD and emotions.
6. Check Histology mode (BC 6), Anatomy mode and Physiology mode. Go through alarm points to find priority organ system to balance. Scan appropriate pages of text books as necessary. Important: Check the Immune System, particularly Middle Trapezius and Latissimus Dorsi (Spleen/Pancreas) muscles.
When checking the Immune system, scan pages relating to complement system and Phase I and II antibodies in Anatomy & Physiology textbook. Lungs, Heart and Liver will most likely also be affected so the same procedure will need to be done for these organs also. Challenge priority and work on each system and balance as required.
7. Check Dehydration (BC3 1/2), find emotions, DD and correct.
8. Check for Candida (mode BC nail under thumbnail), find emotions, DD and correct as per Candida procedure.
9. Check all Allergy modes (transverse process of C1, Em 11, BC 5 1/2, BC 9, St 5 1/2a, BC 9), pause lock all indicator changes, find allergens and balance as per Allergies procedure.
10. Also check Vaccinations as these will often show. If showing, balance as per Vaccinations procedure.
11. Scan list of virus (if available), find emotions and DD to correct. Ask client for as much information as possible regarding symptoms. They may or may not know when they may have been exposed to viruses. If these show, it is often that they need to be energetically cleared from the auric field and light bodies e.g. Epstein Barr virus, Rickettsia, Coxiella Burnetti, Lyme Disease (Borrelia) and more.
12. Check Blood Sugar, Blood Chemistry and Blood Vessels, find emotions, DD and correct if priority if not already corrected.
13. Check Retrograde Lymph Technique, find emotions, DD, and correct if priority if not already corrected.
14. Check for Nutritional imbalances, changes and requirements, give advise required, find emotions, DD and correct if priority.
15. Re-check modes at end and issues are cleared relating to the balance.
16. DD to see if any other issues or areas require balancing.
This may take several sessions over a reasonable period of time to work on as allergies and candida can require quite some time to correct or may need to be worked on over several sessions with approximately one to two weeks in between.
Karen Winter, Dip.HSc.Kin. has been in clinical practice since 1992 as a Kinesiologist and treated many people with Rickettsia / Q Fever who living in inner suburban suburbs of cities, who had not been out in country regions nor lived in them
1. Australia’s Dangerous Creatures, David Underhill (Reader’s Digest Sydney)
2. Bailliere’s Australian Nurses’ Dictionary, Burr Brooker Weller Wells
4. First Aid – Responding To Emergencies, Australian Red Cross
5. Family Health And Medical Guide, Hearst Books
6. Principles Of Anatomy And Physiology, Tortora Grabowski