From silent, to severe: Q Fever research focusses on victim experience

Beef Central, 01/02/2021

A Charles Sturt University researcher wants to hear from people who have had Q Fever, to learn more about the impacts of the illness and patient experience in achieving a diagnosis.

Q Fever is an infectious disease that transmits from cattle and sheep to humans and is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii.

While some infected people may experience only a mild illness, for others it can result in a prolonged and debilitating illness.

Dr Tabita Tan from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt PhD student Tabita Tan is carrying out an online survey as part of her research through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

The aim of the questionnaire is to investigate the impacts that Q Fever has on patients and families in Australia and their experiences in achieving a diagnosis for their illness.

“We want to include as wide a range of experiences as possible including people who have been infected without symptoms, those who have had severe illness and parents or guardians who have cared for a child with Q Fever,” Dr Tan said.

“It doesn’t matter how long ago you experienced Q Fever, if you were in Australia, we are keen to hear from you.”

Dr Tan said these patient perspectives on the medical investigation would help explore the likelihood of timely disease detection.

“Information from the survey will inform our research to develop an emergency response plan to be used if a large Q Fever outbreak in humans was identified,” she said.

Dr Tan’s research is part of a wider, multi-disciplinary project ‘Taking the “Query” out of Q Fever’ that aims to improve understanding of Q Fever to develop policies that will limit the likelihood of a large and prolonged outbreak in Australia.

The three-year project is supported by funding from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program and university and industry partners.

Project funding is administered by AgriFutures Australia and the national project team includes animal health and infectious disease experts from the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, the University of Queensland, the Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory, Goat Vet Oz and Meredith Dairy.

The survey, which will be open until at least the end of February, can be accessed here.


















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  1. Alnazef maly hamd baggary, 13/08/2021

    Veterinarian, I hold Sudanese nationality
    I have a master’s degree in veterinary medicine and I have a master’s thesis in unknown fevers and scientific papers in Q fever

  2. Heather Harris, 03/02/2021

    I caught Q fever and rickettsia from ticks in lightning ridge in March 2015 or 2016. I have recovered but get occasional days of fatigue and have developed a type of itchy eczema particularly on the outer aspects of my elbows. Have never had an allergy of any type in my life. Am assuming it it something to do with the ticks.

  3. EDITH CROWTHER, 02/02/2021

    i may or may not be one you are looking for….. it is a matter of when Q fever reached the dairy area on Atherton Tland….
    in 1960 i went down with what appeared to be instant osteomylitis with no apparent forerunner….. though i did have a poison toe issue on one foot in the fortnight leading up to all going awol…… i was very ill immediately and in a coma for a week. no antibotic appeared to work and none every really did…..
    i spent 6 yrs fighting with the osteomylitis in a few places in my body, ended up with a fused hip etc etc…. my sister got sick a couple of years later and Drs said it too was osteomylitis though it never damaged her bones…….
    we lived on a dairy farm……so it very much depends on when it started to be on the Tland…….or if anyone was actually looking for it back then.

  4. Sarah Wrigley, 02/02/2021

    Is there an error in this link? I am not able to access the survey. Thanks, Sarah

    All fixed now – Editor

  5. John Colless, 02/02/2021

    Gidday good folk at Beef Central and Jon Condon
    Very interested in Q Fever article!!
    BUT it is unsafe on all 3 links.
    Red flags so please check out and catch up with Dr Tan and her research folk and fix the problem
    Q Fever is a problem and good to see something being done.

    Thank You – John Colless

    Thanks John – we have now replaced the link provided in the story – it seems to be working. Editor

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