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Test ID: CBBRP Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), Molecular Detection, PCR, Blood

Reporting Name

Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) PCR, B

Useful For

Aiding in the diagnosis of Coxiella burnetii infection (eg, Q fever)

Clinical Information

Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, is a small obligate intracellular bacterium that is distributed ubiquitously in the environment. The agent is acquired through aerosol exposure and generally causes mild respiratory disease. A small number of these acute cases will advance to a chronic condition, which typically manifests as endocarditis. If left untreated, cases of Q fever endocarditis are fatal.


Current diagnostic methods of Q fever endocarditis include serologic studies and histopathologic examination of excised cardiac tissue. These current methods are subjective and nonspecific, limiting usefulness in patient diagnostics.


Evaluation of infected tissue, blood, or serum using PCR has been shown to be an effective tool for diagnosing C burnetii infection. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has developed a real-time PCR test that permits rapid identification of C burnetii.


The assay targets a unique sequence of the shikimate dehydrogenase gene (aroE) present in C burnetii.


A positive result indicates the presence of Coxiella burnetii DNA.


A negative result indicates the absence of detectable C burnetii DNA, but does not negate the presence of the organism and may occur due to inhibition of PCR, sequence variability underlying primers or probes, or the presence of C burnetii DNA in quantities less than the limit of detection of the assay.

Report Available

2 to 7 days

Day(s) Performed

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Clinical Reference

1. Frangoulidis D, Meyer H, Kahlhofer C, Splettstoesser WD: 'Real-time' PCR-based detection of Coxiella burnetii using conventional techniques. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 2012;64:134-136

2. Marrie TJ, Raoult D: Coxiella burnetii (Q fever). In Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. Edited by GL Mandell, JE Bennett, R Dolin. Seventh edition. Philadelphia, Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2010, pp 2511-2519

3. Maurin M, Raoult D: Q fever. Clin Microbiol Rev 1999;12:518-533

4. Fenollar F, Fournier PE, Raoult D: Molecular detection of Coxiella burnetii in the sera of patients with Q fever endocarditis or vascular infection. J Clin Microbiol 2004;42:4919-4924

5. Fournier PE, Raoult D: Comparison of PCR and serology assays for early diagnosis of acute Q fever. J Clin Microbiol 2003;41:5094-5098

6. Tande A, Cunningham S, Raoult D, et al: Coxiella burnetii prosthetic joint infection-case report and assay for detection. J Clin Microbiol 2013;51:66-69

7. CDC Releases First National Guidelines on Managing Q Fever. JAMA 2013;309(18):1887

8. Anderson A, Bijlmer H, Fournier PE, et al: Diagnosis and management of Q fever-United States, 2013: recommendations from CDC and the Q Fever Working Group. MMWR Recomm Rep 2013;62(RR-03):1-30

Method Name

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Specimen Type

Whole Blood EDTA

Specimen Required

The high sensitivity of amplification by PCR requires the specimen to be processed in an environment in which contamination of the specimen by Coxiella burnetii DNA is unlikely.



Preferred: Lavender top (EDTA)

Acceptable: Royal blue top (EDTA), pink top (EDTA), or sterile vial containing EDTA-derived aliquot

Specimen Volume: 1 mL

Collection Instructions: Send specimen in original tube (preferred).

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.5 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Whole Blood EDTA Refrigerated (preferred) 7 days
  Frozen  7 days

Reference Values

Not applicable

Test Classification

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
CBBRP Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) PCR, B 90443-3


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
35191 Specimen Source 31208-2
35192 Coxiella burnetii PCR 90443-3


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request (T244) with the specimen.

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