Keith Adams, president of the Cattle Council of Australia (CCA), has urged beef producers to contact their State Department of Health and push for the immediate rollout of funding so they are able protect themselves from the effects of Q-Fever.

Q-Fever, which was first recognised in Australia in the 1930s, is a zoonosis (disease transmitted from animal and animal products to humans) of cattle, sheep, goats, rodents and their attendant ticks. The symptoms include fever, coughing, muscle pain and severe headaches. It is often misdiagnosed as influenza. 

Lobbying efforts by the CCA, along with strong backing from Queensland Senator, Ron Boswell, resulted in the Commonwealth Government last year announcing an additional A$8.4m (US$4.75m) funding package to provide free vaccinations to primary producers. 

"Funding from the Commonwealth Government for the Q-Fever screening and vaccination programme has now been provided to the States and Territories. However, Queensland is the only state to have implemented the programme so far", Adams said today [Tuesday].

"Producers outside Queensland are urged to contact their State/Territory Department of Health for details on how and when the scheme will be implemented in their area.

"Additionally, under new Occupational Health and Safety Requirements, beef producers wanting to inspect their carcases at the abattoir will need to prove they are not at risk of contracting Q-Fever at the plant.

"Producers will therefore be required to either furnish proof of a Q-fever vaccination or proof of a positive test of Q-fever infection before they are allowed entry to a plant.

"Cattle producers can ill afford the debilitating effects of this acute bacterial infection. It is important that all cattle producers are able to take advantage of the screening and vaccination initiative at the earliest opportunity."