Sunday, January 29, 2017
Victorian farmer group calls on Federal Government to subsidise Q Fever vaccine.
The Victorian Farmers Federation is calling for increased access to Q Fever screening services and for the vaccine to be subsidized. Farmers, livestock handlers and abattoir workers are most at risk of contracting the disease, which is carried by livestock, domestic and wild animals. Some larger rural businesses such as meat processors, saleyards and livestock transporters are required by WorkSafe to protect workers against the disease by screening and vaccinating for Q Fever.According to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, rates of Q Fever infection have fluctuated in recent years. There were 34 cases of Q Fever in Victoria in 2014, with 59 cases in 2015 and 48 last year. But figures from the Australian Q Fever Register, collated by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, show the number of people being registered to be screened and tested for the disease in Victoria jumped from 4,502 in 2014-15 to 4,948 in 2015-16. A dairy farmer from Victoria's Gippsland region will have to outlay thousands of dollars to screen and vaccinate his staff against Q Fever after one of his employees contracted the disease. Greg Peddle milks 750 dairy cows on his property at Yarram, about 220 kilometres south-east of Melbourne.The worker was diagnosed and treated for the disease immediately and was only away from work for one day. But under instruction by WorkSafe, Mr Peddle must now enforce a "no jab no job" policy, which will require all workers employed on his farm to be screened and vaccinated.continue