Only 40 per cent of people in groups recommended for Q fever vaccination are aware of the vaccine and only 10 per cent of these people had been vaccinated, new research by the University of Sydney has found.
The study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, is the first community based study in Australia designed to measure past exposure to Q fever and identify factors associated with exposure.
Q fever is a highly infectious bacterial disease that can cause a severe flu-like illness. It is commonly found in rural and regional areas with the bacteria spread to humans from animals, mainly cattle, sheep and goats.
The study found one in 20 rural Queensland donors showed evidence of past exposure, indicating exposure to Q fever is more common than expected.
Adults who have regular contact with sheep, cattle or goats, abattoir workers, and those assisting with animal births had the highest levels of exposure and these groups are recommended to receive the Q fever vaccine.
The researchers estimated that 29 to 39 per cent of people with symptomatic Q fever were not actually diagnosed with the disease.
The full report is at mja.com.au. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has information at worksafe.qld.gov.au and there is information on groups recommended for Q fever vaccination at qld.gov.au/health