Community and Lifestyle

Time for Governments to take Q Fever seriously: Rural groups

James Nason, 15/12/2016

Organisations from across agricultural, processing, veterinary and public health industries are calling for governments to protect residents from the risk of Q fever infection.

NSW Farmers’ Association president Derek Schoen said it is time for State and Federal Governments to stand up for rural health and take Q fever seriously.

“Rural and regional ministers needed to pay attention to the health risks in their electorates, particularly for people working with or around livestock,” Mr Schoen said.

“Farmers and rural residents are frustrated that their exposure to Q fever is overlooked by city-focused health policy. Ministers have promised watching briefs on Q fever, but the time has come to take action.

“We are asking for the Q fever vaccine to be placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme so that communities are better protected from the risk of disease.”

Mr Schoen said that since 2011, Q fever notifications in NSW have doubled, but access to testing and vaccination remains difficult for rural and remote residents.

“Getting tested and vaccinated means two visits to a qualified doctor. For many farmers, this means two long round-trips and too much time away from the farm. The combined cost of testing and vaccination can be over $400.

“NSW Farmers is calling for free testing and vaccination clinics for those most at risk of contracting Q fever. We would like to see an awareness campaign and better training for rural GPs to ensure they can diagnose and treat Q fever,” Mr Schoen said.

Mr Schoen said that the issue is not confined to livestock industries; increasingly, Q fever infections are seen in suburban residents working with domestic cats and dogs.

“Q fever is the most important zoonotic disease in Australia and notifications are rising.

“We are lucky to have a vaccine on the market, but we’re concerned about the impacts on the public health system if Q fever risk isn’t addressed by governments,” Mr Schoen said.

Source: NSW Farmers

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Comments

  1. Alicia Bo, 19/12/2016

    Ballarat council have signed off the biggest saleyards in Victoria to be built 800m from the local school and kinder (400 children) and within 2km of near 4000 people and the also the town of the Melbourne cup trainer, horse and jockey and million dollar racehorses. They were told of the risks of q fever and have ignored it. It’s important to remember that children under 16 cannot be vaccinated. Q fever has the ability to survive for many years in harsh weather and has the ability to travel up to 5km in dust particles. It’s an accident waiting to happen with no regard to the residents health.

  2. Rob Zalewski, 15/12/2016

    Surely Barnaby Joyce is accross this issue! I cannot believe that in 2016 we are STILL dithering over Q Fever vaccinations. Anyone who comes in contact with livestock is at risk. If a cattle truck drives by & a cow urinates out the side, you can contract Q Fever from coming into contact with cattle urine!

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