Jenn in PA: I would recommend that you research Q Fever on the internet. Of all the articles I've read, I've not seen anything that indicates this is related to the "tropics." In fact, a quick google for "q fever outbreak" revealed this has occurred in Germany, Italy, and in December 2009, in Denmark. According to the person from the PA DOH I spoke with, the main carriers are sheep, goats, and cattle. In fact, the outbreak in Denmark was referred to as "goat flu." One of the main questions I was asked (repeatedly) was whether I had ingested any unpasteurized milk or been to any type of petting zoo recently--what does that have to do with the tropics?
And I can't overlook that the words "my doc has never heard of this" and "but she's sure there are false positives" are in the same paragraph. Sounds like she's guessing to me. Glad to hear you say, though, that she was going to research this--wonder if she'll call you back to correct her error.
FYI - I recently ordered a book from Amazon entitled, "The Official Patient's Sourcebook on Q Fever," which should arrive today or tomorrow. There are official resources out there for those who are looking for them, not to mention physicians having even more access to published articles in various medical literatures.
Since Q Fever is a disease that is required to be reported to the Department of Health, have they contact you yet? My doctor notified them on a Monday, and I was contact by the DOH the next afternoon.