18
Sep 2020

Subsidised Q Fever vaccine a must after another NQ outbreak

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KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter is calling on the Federal Health Minister to subsidise the vaccine for the debilitating Q Fever infection, following another outbreak in North Queensland that is impacting livestock industry workers.

Q Fever is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. The bacteria are most commonly found in cattle, sheep, and goats around the world, and humans typically get Q Fever when they breathe in dust that has been contaminated by infected animals.

Mr Katter said the latest outbreak in North Queensland should be taken seriously and that the Federal Government must act.

“At a time when we have a shortage of farm workers due to Covid-19 related border closures, we can’t have all our ringers, graziers and cattlemen going down with Q Fever,” Mr Katter said.

“Q Fever rears its ugly head with regularity in regional parts of Australia like the Kennedy electorate, so it is quite extraordinary that it is not on the Medicare ‘freebie’ list.

“If a person gets Q Fever then you’ve got a huge health crisis for the Australian public. The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories of course were privatised so now it costs money to subsidise or make the vaccine free.”

Currently the Q Fever vaccine costs around $150, and in some cases up to $400.[1]

Mr Katter acknowledged that the Federal Government had committed $1.87m to support the development of a new, cheaper Q Fever vaccine[2], but Mr Katter said regional Queenslanders couldn’t wait and the current vaccine must immediately be subsidised.

The Katter’s Australian Party founder said a public health campaign relating to the dangers of Q Fever should also be initiated in the beef and agricultural industries.

“A good friend of mine from Hughenden recently went down with Q Fever, but he didn’t know about the vaccine despite working in the cattle industry all his life,” he said.

“Q Fever is one of the most debilitating diseases that agricultural workers face and contamination can lead to lengthy periods of sickness. The symptoms are so hard to identify that unless you are familiar with the region you’d probably diagnose it as flu.”

-ENDS-

[1] https://www.healthhubdoctorsmorayfield.com.au/services/q-fever-testing-and-vaccine/#:-:text=If vaccination is recommended then,costs may be tax deductible.
[2] https://www.sheepcentral.com/farmers-welcome-1-87m-investment-in-q-fever-vaccine-trials/ 

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