Q Fever

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The following statement was issued to media following a query regarding Q Fever.


City’s Acting Director City Services Peter Godfrey:


The City has been testing and, if required, vaccinating staff employed at the Geelong Saleyards for a number of years.
The City has also initiated a program of testing and vaccination for all staff who come into direct or indirect contact with animals.
The City’s People and Organisational Development department is not aware of any staff being diagnosed with Q Fever.
However, of 42 staff tested for Q Fever 25 have shown a positive result for the presence of Q Fever antibodies. 
It is possible for a person to test positive to Q Fever antibodies without ever having shown symptoms of the infection, and many years after exposure to the bacteria.
Having tested positive to Q Fever antibodies means that a person has lifetime immunity to further infection.

Testing for Q Fever at a site does not guarantee that we will find the bacteria, as it could be in a very discrete location and easily missed.
The City’s Occupational Health and Safety measures comply with Worksafe’s Q Fever prevention guidelines.
All City employees have been informed of the risks associated with exposure to Q Fever at staff meetings and through an organisation-wide safety alert.
Staff who may be at risk have been instructed to ensure all controls, risk assessment tools and standard operating procedures, such as testing, vaccination and the wearing of personal protective equipment, are implemented.
A safety sign at the Geelong Saleyards, installed during works prior to reopening of the site in February 2017, states that Q Fever vaccination is recommended for all persons attending the site.

The next sheep and poultry sale at the Geelong Saleyards is scheduled for Monday 24 July.

Exposure to Q Fever is a risk throughout the world for any person that comes into direct or indirect contact with infected sheep, cattle, goats, kangaroos, cats and dogs. 
Exposure is therefore likely for anyone living in a semi-rural area.
If a person is diagnosed with Q Fever, or tests positive for Q Fever antibodies, it is impossible to pinpoint where or when they contracted the infection.
The City’s People and Organisational Development department is not aware of any staff being diagnosed with Q Fever.
Community members concerned about Q Fever can visit www.health.vic.gov.au or www.qfever.org.
Any City of Greater Geelong staff who are concerned about exposure to Q Fever should contact their manager.