Q fever was first recognised in Australia during the 1930’s when workers at a Brisbane meat processor became ill with a fever. As the cause of the illness was unknown, the workers were diagnosed with ‘Query’ fever. This was eventually abbreviated to Q fever. With the possible exception of a few European countries and New Zealand, cases of Q fever have been reported worldwide and from every State and Territory in Australia.

In recent years it has become apparent that there is another different, chronic, disabling sequel to acute Q fever which takes the form of a prolonged debility and fatigue syndrome. This sequel has features in common with the chronic fatigue syndrome thought to follow proven virus infections (eg., Ross River fever, glandular fever) or virus-like episodes in which a viral cause is not established by laboratory tests.

Depending on the stringency of diagnostic criteria, the post Q fever fatigue syndrome (QFS) follows about 20% of acute Q fever cases. As it may last for 5-10 or more years the cost to the industry, occupational health insurers and Health Services is considerable. Given the disabling nature of QFS, its duration, the conflicts over diagnosis, and its costs, the advantages of vaccination to prevent the condition and the other chronic sequels are self-evident.

Read more about Q Fever.

General practitioners may be asked to test and vaccinate individuals, or to work with an employer (such as a meat processor) to test and vaccinate their staff – access information for GPs here.

Health care professionals can also contact Seqirus (A CSL Company) on 1800 642 865 or email medinfo.aust@seqirus.com.au for a username and password to access a training video from the Q Fever website.

Victorian Q Fever vaccination providers.