There is a vaccine available for Q fever but it is not on the Australian Immunisation Schedule. It is only recommended for adolescents aged ≥15 years and adults who are at risk of infection with C. burnetii. These include:
- abattoir workers
- stockyard workers
- animal transporters
- veterinary nurses
- veterinary students
- professional dog and cat breeders
- agricultural college staff and students
- wildlife and zoo workers who work with high-risk animals
- animal refuge workers
- laboratory workers who handle veterinary specimens or work with C. burnetii
- other people exposed to high-risk animals
People should have both serological and skin tests before vaccination.
Q fever is caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. C. burnetii infects wild and domestic animals, and their ticks. Humans are mainly infected from cattle, sheep and goats. Acute Q fever symptoms are influenza-like. However, some cases develop hepatitis and pneumonia. Complications of Q fever are endocarditis and post–Q fever fatigue syndrome.
Q fever vaccine is given as a single dose. Booster doses are not recommended.
People should receive serum antibody testing and a skin test before vaccination (together known as pre-vaccination testing).
Pre-vaccination testing is not needed in people who have a documented history of previous infection with Q fever or have already received a Q fever vaccine. Q fever vaccine is contraindicated in these people.
(Text adapted from the Australian Immunisation Handbook)
For more information about Q fever and the vaccine available please see here.
Page reviewed November 2018.