Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis with the exception of New Zealand and Antarctica. The greatest infestation is found in warm, dry, and tick-rich regions of Europe.
A major vector of the bacteria that cause Q fever is riparian ticks. In the wild, the bacteria(Coxiella burnetii) circulate among wild mammals, birds, and ticks. Then, in the spring and fall, adult riparian ticks infect livestock such as sheep, goats, and cattle. A classic route of infection for animals as well as for humans is the transmission of the bacteria through tick feces, e.g. in sheep wool of infected or uninfected animals.
The floodplain ticks require a summer temperature of 20-22 °C and rainfall of 400-1000 mm. However, they are quite cold tolerant and survive harsh winters. Originally found in Hungary, Austria, and northern Italy, the range of the floodplain tick has greatly expanded northward as a result of climate change.