New Q fever vaccine: no pre-testing needed

Mark Horan, Braidwood, who has had Q fever, with Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton as Mr Coulton announces the funding for trials of a new vaccine.
Mark Horan, Braidwood, who has had Q fever, with Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton as Mr Coulton announces the funding for trials of a new vaccine.

A new Q fever vaccine is progressing to pre-clinical trials thanks to a $1.87-million injection from the federal government.

Federal Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton announced the investment on Wednesday.

"I know people who have suffered Q fever's ill-effects, which vary in intensity from one person to the next, and know how important it is to ensure Australians have access to the best medical products possible.

"That is why the government is acting to provide more support and more options for the most at-risk Australians."

The bacteria that causes Q fever is spread from animals, mainly cattle, sheep and goats, but can travel as far as 30 kilometres in dry, windy conditions and infect people who have had no contact with animals.

NSW Farmers president James Jackson, who himself has suffered Q fever, said he was delighted the federal government was acknowledging the seriousness of the disease for rural Australians.

National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said the trial made possible by the funding was a significant step towards a more efficient and easier-to-access Q fever vaccine.

"The disease is most commonly contracted by those working with livestock on property or in abattoirs, with times of drought considered particularly dangerous.

"There is no more important priority for agriculture than protecting the health and wellbeing of our people," Mr Mahar said.

"Q fever is an all-too-common illness affecting farmers and others employed in rural and livestock-focused industries, impacting people, in some cases, for many years."

Mr Coulton said one potential advantage of the new vaccine is that patients don't need a test before taking it.

Have you signed up for The Land morning briefing? You can register free below. Each weekday morning you'll receive the latest in NSW agriculture.