Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular pathogen that causes acute and chronic Q fever. C. burnetii grows within a eukaryotic host cell in a vacuole highly similar to a phagolysosome. Found worldwide, this environmentally stable pathogen is maintained in nature via chronic infection of ruminants. Aerosol-mediated infection of humans results in infection and usurpation of alveolar macrophages through mechanisms using a bacterial Type 4B Secretion System and secreted effector proteins. Advances in axenic culture and genetic systems are changing our understanding of the pathogen’s physiology and intimate molecular manipulations of host cells during infection.

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