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Q Fever: Australians warned to get vaccinated for disease: Wide Bay Queensland

Terrifying deadly disease called ‘Q fever’ hits Australia – as locals in infected areas are warned to get vaccinated

  • Bacterial infection known as Q fever has prompted warning from health officials
  • Queensland Health said there has been a surge in cases in the Wide Bay region
  • The bacteria can be transmitted to humans from kangaroos, cows and sheep

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An Australian region has been put on alert after an alarming number of rare cases of bacterial disease were discovered.

Queensland Health has told residents of the Wide Bay electoral division – which also includes Noosa, Maryborough and Gympie – to get vaccinated against the mysterious Q fever.

Health officials said 11 local residents will be infected with the disease by 2022, nearly double the average of five to seven cases in the same period over the past five years.

The disease is caused by Coxiella burnetii bacteria that can be transmitted from cattle, goats, sheep and kangaroos and can be transmitted to humans through direct contact or inhalation of dust contaminated with birth fluids, urine or feces.

Queensland Health has warned that Q fever is on the rise and can be caught by infected animals such as cows (stock image)

Queensland Health has warned that Q fever is on the rise and can be caught by infected animals such as cows (stock image)

Other animals such as foxes and even pets such as dogs and cats can also carry the disease, although it is less common. Person-to-person transmission is even rarer, but can happen.

Symptoms include high fever, chills, sweating, headache, muscle and joint pain, and extreme fatigue. Some cases can develop a long-term chronic fatigue disease.

The symptoms can resemble the flu, leading to a risk of the disease going undiagnosed, Queensland Health warned.

Pregnant women who become infected are at risk of dangerous pregnancy complications.

Residents in the Wide Bay region of Queensland, including Maryborough and Noosa, have been warned to be vaccinated when working with animals and to wear P2 masks when doing outdoor work that can generate dust, such as mowing the lawn or gardening (file image)

Residents in the Wide Bay region of Queensland, including Maryborough and Noosa, have been warned to be vaccinated when working with animals and to wear P2 masks when doing outdoor work that can generate dust, such as mowing the lawn or gardening (file image)

Residents in the Wide Bay region of Queensland, including Maryborough and Noosa, have been warned to be vaccinated when working with animals and to wear P2 masks when doing outdoor work that can generate dust, such as mowing the lawn or gardening (file image)

And untreated patients can develop more severe forms that can lead to hepatitis, pneumonia, and inflammation of the heart called endocarditis.

In very rare cases, people have died of Q fever.

Wide Bay Public Health Unit Public health doctor Dr Josette Chor said a ‘highly effective’ vaccine is available for those who work with farm animals.

She also encouraged people who work outdoors in the region, such as mowing the lawn, to wear a P2 filter mask.

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