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Rise in Q Fever in South Australia

05 Jan 2017

On the 3 January 2017 the South Australia (SA) Government issued a media releaseLink advising of a significant rise in cases of Q fever.

A total of 27 cases were reported in 2016 which is double the cases reported in 2015 and almost triple the number of cases reported 5 years ago.

The SA Health Chief Medical Officer advised that Q fever is typically an occupational disease of meat workers, farmers and hobby farmers, kangaroo hunters, shearers and veterinarians.

In response health officials are urging people who work with animals to get vaccinated.

Advice for Travellers

There is no licensed vaccine for Q fever in the UK, however, a list of Q fever vaccine providers in SA are listed on the SA Health websiteLink.

Travellers at most risk include:

  • Those living or working closely with animals (i.e. veterinarians, abattoir workers, farmers).
  • Those staying for prolonged periods in rural areas, especially in the summer months, where the risk of dust inhalation is increased (includes military personnel).

All travellers should:

  • Avoid contact with animal body fluids. If this is unavoidable (e.g. for those at occupational risk), protective clothing should be worn.
  • Be aware of the risks in very dusty environments.
  • Avoid tick bites.
  • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.