Q fever research commitment is step in right direction

NSW Farmers’ says the government’s commitment to fund research into the Q fever disease is a step in the right direction.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce has announced $514,500 for a research project to investigate ways of limiting the spread of the disease.

“It is great to see a focus on rural and regional health issues in this election. The government has recognised one of the hot button issues in rural and regional health – Q fever,’’ said NSW Farmers’ President, Derek Schoen.

Q fever can be spread to humans through interaction with livestock. The disease can have long term health consequences for suffers, including severe headaches, muscle and joint aches.

A Q fever vaccine is available but there is no Medicare rebate.

“Protecting yourself from Q fever can leave farmers hundreds of dollars out of pocket. Blood and skin testing, medical consultations and vaccine can cost more than $400,” Mr Schoen said.

While the government’s announcement is welcome, NSW Farmers’ will continue to campaign to have
the vaccine put on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The issue will be discussed at the Association’s annual conference in Sydney on July 19-21 2016.

Around 600 cases of Q fever are reported in Australia each year.

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