NSW Farmers has today welcomed the Australian Government’s investment in protecting Australians against Q fever through providing $1.8 million to support research into a new vaccine.
NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said the new vaccine is intended to be simple, easy to administer, and accessible to all Australians at risk of contracting the disease.
“For years, NSW Farmers has led the charge in asking governments to take action on Q fever. We’re glad that the Australian Government recognises the substantial risk this disease poses to regional and rural Australia,” Mr Jackson said.
“This is a disease that disproportionately affects our rural communities. Having experienced it myself, I can attest to the significant impact it can have on your life.”
Q fever is usually an acute infection spread through contact with infected animals, though it can lead to chronic illness. It is considerably under-diagnosed and under-reported.
Australia has one of the highest reported rates of Q fever in the world. Q fever is prevalent in about 5-7 per cent of the population; that number is much higher in regional areas.
“Australia is the only country in the world with a human vaccine for Q fever, but we still have fairly low vaccine coverage amongst farmers and farm workers.”
“While our health experts are working on the new vaccine, I encourage people to ask their doctor about getting Q-VAX, the current vaccine on the market. It’s important to take steps to protect yourself.”
Mr Jackson said the funding will assist the Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory (ARRL) to further their vaccine research and conduct pre-clinical trials.
Mr Jackson thanked Dr Stephen Graves, Medical Director of the ARRL, for his tireless work to protect rural communities against Q fever.
“It has been fantastic to work with Dr Graves on securing support for a new vaccine, and we look forward to continuing this relationship in the future.”