Q Fever Vaccination
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Q Fever?
Q fever is a severe, acute febrile illness, which is a major problem in Australia and around the world. It is spread from animals to humans and the infection is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. Cattle, sheep and goats are the main reservoirs for infection in humans – although bandicoots, kangaroos and dogs also can be infected.
What are the symptoms of Q Fever?
Acute Q fever infection causes a fever and a severe illness with symptoms very similar to influenza infection. Serious cases may be associated with liver, heart, lung problems and meningitis. However, up to 60% of people who get infected with Q fever will have only very mild symptoms and may not even be aware they have had Q-fever. Most people will recover fully within 2 - 6 weeks but 10 - 30% of people may have long term complications such as post Q fever fatigue syndrome which can last for several years after the initial infection.
Who is at risk of Q Fever?
Q fever occurs primarily in workers from the livestock and meat industries and other occupations working closely with animals. However others in the general population may be infected through visits to high-risk areas or through proximity to infected animals or their contaminated products.
How do you test for Q Fever? What is the process of the testing/vaccine?
Testing for suspected Q fever infection is done by a blood test. A blood test and skin test is also needed prior to vaccination in order to make sure it is safe to administer the vaccine. If the vaccine is given to a person who has already had exposure to Q-fever then it can produce a very severe reaction with symptoms similar to acute Q-fever infection.
When you come to the clinic you will have a blood test and a skin test. After 1 week the results will be given and the vaccine administered if it is safe to do so. Your details can be added to the Q-fever register so that employers can see your vaccination status.
How long does the vaccine last?
The vaccine can only be given once. It gives protection for at least 5 years but once a person has been vaccinated they can never be vaccinated again.
How much does it cost? Any bulk-billing available?
The initial visit for the skin test costs $120 and the follow up appointment costs $75 for the consultation.
The skin test and the blood test are paid for separately and cost approximately $35 (pharmacy fee) and $55 (pathology fee) respectively. If vaccination is recommended then the vaccine costs approximately $45 (pharmacy fee).
The cost of Q-fever testing and vaccination is not covered by Medicare but if done for the purposes of your employment then these costs may be tax deductible.