Q fever is an infection that produces flu-like symptoms in humans but shows little or no symptoms in animals. It is most commonly transmitted by inhaling the bacterium Coxiella burnetii . This bacterium is shed by infected cattle, sheep, goats and wild pigs.
In 2008 there were 370 infections recorded in Australia. Infection can also be transmitted by direct contact with objects (boots, clothing) and ingestion (for example eating after you’ve handled animals and not washed your hands).
People most at risk include abattoir workers, vets and meat inspectors. It is also a risk if you hunt and slaughter wild pigs.
Use protective clothing to prevent contamination with infected body fluids or inhaling infected particles in the air.
A vaccine is available.