Department of Health

Key messages

  • Adolescents aged 15 years or over and adults who are at risk of infection with Coxiella burnettii are recommended to receive Q fever vaccine
  • People are recommended to have both serological and skin tests before Q fever vaccination
  • The Q fever skin test and vaccine are not funded under the National Immunisation Program
  • The Australian Q Fever Register stores information on the Q fever immune status of individuals. This site has general information on Q fever, information on the Register, forms and provides a ‘find a vaccinator’ link as well as providing password access to registered users. The Register commenced full national coverage on 1st July 2002.
  • TheAustralian Immunisation Handbook contains information about who should be vaccinated, pre-vaccination testing and how people are vaccinated.

Overview

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.

Q fever vaccine is recommended for adolescents aged ≥15 years and adults who are at risk of infection with C. burnetii.

Pre-vaccination testing

People are recommended to have both serological and skin tests before Q fever vaccination.

Vaccination

People who work with cattle, sheep and goats are most at risk of catching Q fever. 

Q fever vaccine is recommended for people aged ≥15 years who are at risk of infection with C. burnetii. These include:

  • abattoir workers
  • farmers
  • stockyard workers
  • shearers
  • animal transporters
  • veterinarians
  • 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

For more information, see Recommended vaccines for people at increased risk of certain occupationally acquired vaccine-preventable diseases.

Contact your General Practitioner (GP) or an approved Q fever vaccination provider to discuss if the Q fever vaccine is appropriate for you. Q fever vaccine and the skin test are not government funded and need to be purchased privately. Speak to your GP or employer about the costs involved.

Further information:

Australian Immunisation Handbook – Q fever

The Better Health Channel consumer fact sheet 

Australian Q Fever Register

Reviewed 17 October 2022

Health.vic

Contact details

Opening hours:  9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Immunisation Unit Department of Health

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