Frightening deadly disease dubbed ‘Q Fever’ strikes Australia – as locals in infected areas are warned to get vaccinated NOW
- Bacterial infection known as Q fever has sparked a warning from health officials
- Queensland Health said there is a spate of cases in the Wide Bay region
- The bacteria can be transferred to humans from kangaroos, cows, and sheep
An Australian region has been put on alert after an alarming number of rare bacterial disease cases were detected.
Queensland Health has told residents in the electoral division of Wide Bay – which includes Noosa, Maryborough and Gympie – that they should get vaccinated against the mysterious Q fever.
Health officials said 11 locals have been confirmed infected with the disease in 2022, almost double the average of five to seven cases for the same period over the past five years.
The disease is caused by Coxiella burnetii bacteria which can be carried by cattle, goats, sheep, and kangaroos and can be transferred to humans by direct contact or breathing dust contaminated by birth fluids, urine or faeces.
Queensland Health has warned Q fever is on the rise and can be caught from infected animals such as cows (stock image)
Other animals like foxes and even pets such as dogs and cats can also carry the disease though it’s less common. Person to person transmission is even rarer but can happen.
Symptoms include high fever, chills, sweats, headaches, muscle and joint soreness, and extreme fatigue. Some cases can go on to develop a long-term chronic-fatigue like illness.
The symptoms can resemble the flu, leading to a risk of the disease being undiagnosed, Queensland Health warned.
Pregnant women who become infected are at risk of dangerous pregnancy complications.
Residents in the Wide Bay region of Queensland which includes Maryborough and Noosa have been warned to get vaccinated if they work with animals and to wear P2 masks if doing outdoor jobs which could create dust such as mowing the lawn or gardening (file image)
And untreated patients could develop more severe forms that can lead to hepatitis, pneumonia and inflammation of the heart called endocarditis.
In very rare cases people have died from Q fever.
Wide Bay Public Health Unit Public Health Physician Dr Josette Chor said for those working with farm animals there is a ‘highly effective’ vaccine available.
She also encouraged people doing jobs outdoors in the region such as mowing the lawn to wear a P2 filter mask.