This thesis does not deal with a single problem. Its purpose is to discuss, firstly, the clinical picture of ‘Q’ fever as it is seen locally, and then to explore certain particular features, the nature of which is indicated in the table of contents. To this end it has been thought neither advisable not necessary to attempt a comprehensive historical survey of the literature on the disease. Indeed, this would scarcely be possible, as the references on the subject of ‘Q’ fever in all its aspects number many thousands.
I have therefore provided a full discussion of the literature only over the period when the essential features of the condition were becoming well-defined, i.e., to approximately 1946. Following that, I have reviewed such papers as are necessary to develop the particular lines of this thesis. In particular, I have nowhere made more than passing reference to problems of epidemiology, which is outside the scope of the thesis.
In view of the separate aspects investigated, I have thought it preferable to discuss results of the various investigations under their particular section headings, rather than to leave discussion to its conventional place at the end. I have, however, included a penultimate chapter in which the general conclusions from all investigations are summed up, and where possible, correlated.
I was introduced to this subject by Dr. E.H. Derrick, who was interested in having local clinical features reviewed, with particular reference to the incidence of liver involvement. Apart from this the nature and scope of the investigations are my own responsibility. I have indicated under “Acknowledgements” the extent to which I am indebted to various persons for technical and clinical assistance, and for advice in other ways. All the patients have been seen by myself, and all except two have been under my own care.