Q fever is spread to humans from animals and symptoms include high fevers and chills, severe sweats, severe headaches, muscle and joint pains and extreme fatigue.
Last year, more than 200 people contracted Q fever in NSW, mostly males aged between 40 and 70, and almost half ended up in hospital.
The NSW Government is investing $200,000 on research into an improved vaccine for the bacterial infection, as well as $275,000 into an education campaign.
The research funding will assist the Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory, working with the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute at Camden, to develop an improved vaccine.
The NSW Government has worked with the Royal Agricultural Society, NSW Farmers’ Association, the NSW Country Women’s Association and SafeWork NSW to develop the Q fever education campaign and has launched an online learning module to help GPs recognise symptoms and diagnose Q fever, with almost 250 already enrolled.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard kicked off the Q Fever campaign at the Sydney Royal Easter Show urging farmers, vets and rural workers to be vaccinated.
“Working on the land is tough enough without being bedridden or even hospitalised for months on end due to this debilitating disease,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Q fever is preventable through a lifelong vaccination so I strongly urge those at risk to ensure they are protected.”
The current vaccine is not suitable for people aged under 15 and requires screening to prevent severe reactions in those who have had previous exposure to Q fever.
To find contact details for Q Fever vaccination providers in NSW, contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055, or the customer service line of the manufacturer/distributor, bioCSL Pty Ltd, on 1800 008 275.