Q fever is a notifiable disease in Germany. The majority of the reported cases are related to outbreaks. The objective of our study was to evaluate the general role of Q fever in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). We investigated respiratory samples and sera from 255 patients with CAP, who were enrolled into a CAPNETZ cohort in summer 2005. Altogether, our data showed a significant prevalence of Q fever as CAP (3·5%). If a patient's condition leads to a diagnostic test for Chlamydophila sp., Mycoplasma sp. or Legionella sp., then a Q fever diagnostic test should also be included. In particular, ELISA as a first diagnostic step is easy to perform. PCR should be performed at an early stage of the disease if no antibodies are detectable. Because of our highly promising findings we suggest performing PCR in respiratory samples.