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.
  • The Australian 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.

Risk factors for Q fever

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

Q fever vaccine is recommended for adolescents aged ≥15 years and adults 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

See also Recommended vaccines for people at increased risk of certain occupationally acquired vaccine-preventable diseases, in Vaccination for people at occupational risk.

Further information:

Australian immunisation handbook – Q fever 

The Better Health Channel consumer fact sheet 

Contact details