NSW Farmers’ says its time for the Q fever vaccine to be placed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
At its annual conference in Sydney from July 19 to 21, the Association will again be debating how best to deal with the deadly disease.
“Vaccination can be expensive and that additional expense is a barrier to both regional and rural health and a barrier to employing people on farm,” NSW farmers spokesperson Ian Cargill said.
“I know too many people who have been struck down by this debilitating disease and its effects can be catastrophic.
“I have heard far too many horror stories from victims. It’s time to see some action on the issue.’’
NSW Farmers says an announcement by Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce of $514,500 for a new research project to investigate ways of limiting the spread of Q-Fever, if the Government is re-elected, is a step in the right direction.
“It is great to see a focus on rural and regional health issues in this election. The Coalition has recognised one of the hot button issues in rural and regional health – Q fever,’’ said NSW Farmers’ President, Derek Schoen.
Q fever can be spread to humans through interaction with livestock. The disease can have long term health consequences for suffers, including severe headaches, muscle and joint aches.
A Q fever vaccine is available but there is no Medicare rebate.
“Protecting yourself from Q fever can leave farmers hundreds of dollars out of pocket. Blood and skin testing, medical consultations and vaccine can cost more than $400,” Mr Schoen said.
While the Coalition Government’s announcement was welcome, NSW Farmers’ says it will continue to campaign to have the vaccine put on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Around 600 cases of Q fever are reported in Australia each year.
Anyone working or living on a farm is being urged to visit their GP to get vaccinated.
Source: NSW Farmers