Hunter Local Land Services is working with local health providers to help producers access Q Fever vaccinations.
Q fever is one of the most prevalent diseases spread from animals to people in Australia with around 500 human cases per year, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii.
District Vet Kylie Greentree is concerned livestock producers and their families might not be aware of the risks caused by this illness.
“Some people show no symptoms but others with Q-fever may develop flu like symptoms, headaches, muscle aches, fever, sweating, endocarditis,” said Dr Greentree.
“Up to 15-20% of sufferers’ progress to a chronic illness with chronic fatigue that can be debilitating for years, muscle pain, depression, hepatitis, pneumonia and heart failure which can be fatal.”
Q Fever can spread from any animal including cattle, sheep, goats, wildlife and even dogs and cats.
The bacteria can survive in the environment for years and with current dusty drought conditions the organism could be stirred up and spread kilometres in the wind.
Human infection usually occurs by inhaling the organism, but infection also occurs with direct contact with infected animals or drinking unpasteurised milk.
“In recent weeks we have heard of new cases of local producers being affected by Q Fever, and we want to encourage landholders to consider vaccination,” said Dr Greentree.
“Farming is one of the occupations with a high risk of contracting Q fever.
“We are the only country in the world with a vaccination available to prevent Q fever in humans and the vaccination is safe and the most effective way to prevent Q fever infection in high-risk occupations.”
To be vaccinated is a two-step process involving pre-screening and vaccination.
Hunter Local Land Services have been in discussion with several doctors’ surgeries around the region to get reduced vaccination costs for local producers. Some initial pre-screening clinic dates have been made available in Wingham and Maitland.
Please contact Kylie Greentree via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Jacqueline Myhill on 02 4938 4900 to register your interest and to find out more about the clinic and costs involved.
Source: Hunter Local Land Services