vaccination and testing

What is Q fever?

Q fever is a disease caused by bacteria that is spread to humans from animals. It can cause flu-like symptoms that can be severe. Some people experience long-term health issues following infection.

Cattle, sheep and goats are the main sources of infection; however, a wide range of domestic and wild animals can spread the infection to humans. Infected animals usually do not appear to be sick.

Most infections occur from breathing in air or dust contaminated with Q fever bacteria from animal birth fluids, tissues or excretions. The bacteria survive well in air, soil and dust and can infect animal products and materials such as clothing and straw.

Who should be vaccinated?

People whose work puts them in contact with high-risk animals or animal products have a high risk of getting infected with Q fever. The vaccine is strongly recommended for people aged 15 years and over who work in high-risk occupations.

People can also be infected outside of work especially in regional and rural areas by breathing in infected particles and dust in the environment. Vaccination is also recommended for anyone aged 15 years and over who may come into contact with Q fever bacteria during activities outside of work or in the areas in which they live, work or visit. Your doctor will help you decide if vaccination is right for you.

Who should not be vaccinated?

Not everyone can be vaccinated. Those with a known allergy to egg proteins should not be vaccinated. Pregnant women, children under 15 years of age and those with weakened immune systems should obtain specialist advice before considering vaccination. For all others, pre-vaccination screening is necessary to identify who can be vaccinated.