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Q Fever vaccine subsidy crucial to protect workers

January 18, 2017

LIVESTOCK SA has called for the Australian Government to support a new National Q Fever Management Program to subsidise Q Fever vaccinations for all individuals over 15 years of age living in rural areas.

Livestock SA President Geoff Power said Q Fever infection had risen in South Australia, with a recent SA Health report stating there had been 27 cases, more than double the same time last year.

“We appreciate and support SA Health’s reminder to livestock workers to be aware of the health risks of Q Fever,” he said.

“People with Q Fever suffer badly. The effects of Q Fever range from high fever, nausea, muscle and joint pain and loss of weight through to chronic fatigue. About 20 percent of those infected end up suffering from Post Q Fever Fatigue Syndrome.”

In 2001 the Australian Government funded a National Q Fever Management Program. The program consisted of systematic delivery of a subsidised Q Fever vaccination service to targeted populations with a high risk of environmental exposure.

“It is more than 10 years since the last Q Fever vaccination program was wound up,” Mr Power said.

“Since then many new entrants to the livestock industries have taken positions on farms and in agricultural service industries.

“We believe that there needs to be a new National Q Fever Management Program to ensure those living and working in rural areas are protected from this terrible disease.”

Mr Power said it was vital the Federal Department of Health supported the campaign.

“The livestock sector is a key economic sector of SA, valued at $4.5 billion annually in 2014-15 so it is vital that we protect those who work within this sector,” he said.

“Subsidising a national management program is an important step in protecting these workers from Q Fever, and the potential economic impact it could otherwise have.

“We have also sought the support of the State Government – through SA Health – to back the rollout of a national program.”