Explaining the long-term impact of chronic Q fever and Q fever fatigue syndrome on psychosocial functioning: A comparison with diabetes and the general population

J Psychosom Res. 2019 Jun;121:37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.03.185. Epub 2019 Apr 1.


Objective: After Q fever infection, 1-5% of patients develop chronic Q fever, while about 20% develops Q fever fatigue syndrome (QFS). This study examines whether these two conditions have a long-term impact on psychosocial functioning compared to the general population and patients with type 2 diabetes (DM) and investigate which mediating factors influence outcomes.

Methods: Cross-sectional study was performed, measuring psychosocial functioning including quality of life (depression and satisfaction with life), anxiety, social functioning and relationship satisfaction in patients with proven or probable chronic Q fever or QFS, 5-9 years after acute Q fever infection. Multivariate linear regression was used to analyse differences between groups, correct for confounders and identify relevant mediators (fatigue, physical or cognitive functioning, illness perception).

Results: Quality of life and social functioning of chronic Q-fever and QFS patients was significantly lower and anxiety significantly higher compared to DM patients and the general population. The impact was completely mediated by fatigue in both Q fever groups. Physical and cognitive functioning and illness perception partially mediated the impact.

Conclusions: Health care workers need to be aware of the long-term impact of chronic Q fever and QFS on psychosocial functioning of patients in order to provide proper guidance.

Keywords: Chronic Q fever; Long term impact; Psychosocial functioning; Q fever fatigue syndrome; QFS; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / complications*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Q Fever / complications*
  • Q Fever / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Adjustment
  • Time Factors