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Are you at risk of Q fever from mowing?

Workers who mow or slash grass in areas populated by kangaroos and wallabie scan be exposed to Q fever. At-risk workers include grounds staff, property maintenance workers, council workers, golf course workers, and staff of mowing businesses operating in regional and rural areas.

Q fever is a disease of animals that can infect humans. Infection most commonly occurs from contact with cattle, sheep and goats, but other animals, including kangaroos and wallabies, can also spread infection.

People usually acquire Q fever from inhaling dust and aerosols contaminated with the urine, faeces or birth products of infected animals. Q fever commonly causes a flu-like illness which can be severe in some cases. In some people, Q fever causes chronic illness.

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against Q fever and is highly recommended for those at occupational risk. If you regularly mow or slash grass in areas contaminated with the faeces of livestock or native animals, you should talk to your doctor about Q fever vaccination.

If you employ people who do this type of work, you should implement a Q fever screening and vaccination program. A properly fitted((PDF, 0.86 MB)) particulate respirator can be used as a short term control measure by workers who haven’t previously been infected with or vaccinated against Q fever when mowing or slashing grass in areas with livestock or native animals.

Further information

Visit worksafe.qld.gov.au for more information about Q fever and occupational vaccination programs((PDF, 0.3 MB)) . You can find a list of Q fever vaccinators on the Q Fever Register website.