May 8, 2019
The Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) is agitating for government support to raise awareness about Q fever.
Q fever is caused by bacteria particularly prevalent in animal agricultural industries.
It is spread to humans from cattle, sheep, goats, kangaroos and a range of other domestic and wild animals, and is also found in ticks.
People usually become infected by breathing in droplets of dust contaminated by faeces or urine from infected animals.
Even people who do not have direct contact with animals can be infected.
In humans, symptoms can range from a slight flu-like illness to severe conditions such as hepatitis or pneumonia.
Q fever exists in all countries except New Zealand.
In Australia, several hundred cases are reported annually, but the drought in Queensland and NSW is fuelling concerns the spread of the disease may increase because the bacteria favour dry, dusty conditions.
However, a safe and effective vaccine is available.
At the recent Associated Country Women of the World conference in Melbourne, the NSW CWA moved for member organisations to advocate to governments in their regions for more funding to educate medical practitioners and alert all communities about the identification, treatment, and prevention of Q fever.
The conference also called on governments to implement a scheme to subsidise vaccination programs to prevent Q fever in high-risk areas where such schemes are not already in place.
QCWA State President Christine King attended the conference and supported the motion.
“In Queensland, Q fever affects many families,” she said.
“We are committed to educating and advocating in our communities for improved awareness as well as preventative measures.
“As an active community of women who improve the lives of people living in regional, rural and remote Queensland, QCWA is well placed to promote Q fever awareness.”
QCWA is the State’s largest women’s group, with more than 3800 members across 240 locations.
“QCWA is about women supporting women, their families, and their communities by advocating and providing opportunities for women around education, health, and community through every phase of a woman’s life,” Mrs King said.
Women can become directly involved as a member or by supporting QCWA in a variety of ways.
QCWA offers Branch, Supporter and Friend memberships. There are also options to donate.
Fact sheets about Q fever are available online