Q-Fever: A global health risk

November 30, 2005

The decision to stop production of the vaccine for Q-Fever will leave Australia and the international community vulnerable to the health risks of Q-Fever infection, according to one of the country's leading researchers.

The only manufacturer of the vaccine, CSL Ltd, formerly known as the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, has announced it will stop its production from March 2007.

"Q-Fever is on the short-list for organisms thought to be potential threats for bioterrorism," said Professor Andrew Lloyd, from the Inflammatory Diseases Research Unit at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). "Loss of the vaccine, Q-Vax, would be a serious drawback for public safety.

"Without it, we will be leaving ourselves open to outbreaks of the disease which immobilise and cause great suffering to large numbers of people, particularly in country areas. In some instances, complications from the disease may be life threatening.

"My research has shown that the incidence of Q-Fever is closely related to drought conditions. The organism involved is resistant to environmental extremes and blows around in the dust. People who work with animals are particularly vulnerable, but the animals themselves show no sign of the disease."

Professor Lloyd said any outbreak of the disease, which is highly infectious and for which there is no alternative prevention strategy, could also have serious economic ramifications. These include direct health care costs and lost productivity in the major rural industries of beef, lamb and wool production, amongst others.

"Before the widespread uptake of the vaccine, there were approximately 100 WorkCover claims made annually in NSW alone. A single settlement of over a million dollars was made in the NSW Supreme Court in 1997 to a meat inspector suffering prolonged illness after Q-Fever," said Professor Lloyd.

Professor Lloyd said approximately one in three individuals living in rural areas will be infected during their lifetime.

"There are around 600 diagnosed cases in Australia per year, but for every case diagnosed, there are approximately another three to four which pass undiagnosed, or which are mislabelled as influenza or similar illnesses," he said. "The true incidence is likely to be thousands of cases annually.

"Currently 12,000 Australians are vaccinated against Q-Fever every year. Stopping production of the vaccine would also be a significant loss to the international community too, as the infection is prevalent world-wide, and no other country has a licensed vaccine.

"The public is being sold out. CSL used to be publicly-owned, like Telstra, but now it's privately-owned they have lost any sense of obligation to the Australian community. The government needs to take urgent action to ensure the vaccine remains available."
Contact Details:
Professor Lloyd

Research Australia

Related Vaccine Articles from Brightsurf:

Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first?
Nineteen global health experts from around the world have proposed a new, three-phase plan for vaccine distribution -- called the Fair Priority Model -- which aims to reduce premature deaths and other irreversible health consequences from COVID-19.

Breakthrough with cancer vaccine
Scientists have developed a new cancer vaccine with the potential to activate the body's immune system to fight a range of cancers, including leukaemia, breast cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancers.

How to improve the pneumococcus vaccine
Pneumococcus kills 1 million children annually according to the World Health Organization.

US inroads to better Ebola vaccine
As the world focuses on finding a COVID-19 vaccine, research continues on other potentially catastrophic pandemic diseases, including Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Successful MERS vaccine in mice may hold promise for COVID-19 vaccine
In a new study, published April 7 in mBio, researchers from the University of Iowa and the University of Georgia demonstrate that a new vaccine fully protects mice against a lethal dose of MERS, a close cousin of COVID-19.

Coronavirus Vaccine: Where are we and what's next? (video)
You might have heard that COVID-19 vaccine trials are underway in Seattle.

Why isn't there a vaccine for staph?
A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Exposing vaccine hesitant to real-life pain of diseases makes them more pro-vaccine
New research from Brigham Young University professors finds there is a better way to help increase support for vaccinations: Expose people to the pain and suffering caused by vaccine-preventable diseases instead of trying to combat people with vaccine facts.

Lifetime flu vaccine?
Another year, another flu vaccine because so far scientists haven't managed to make a vaccine that protects against all strains of flu.

On the horizon: An acne vaccine
A new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reports important steps that have been taken towards the development of an acne vaccine.

Read More: Vaccine News and Vaccine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.