Thu, 07/23/2020 | News

Optimising Q fever vaccination in Australia: protecting our rural adolescents

The first clinical trial to address the use of Q fever vaccine in younger Australian adolescents is one of the projects that has received funding under the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund.

Q fever is a highly infectious bacterial disease that can cause a severe flu-like illness. It is commonly found in rural and regional areas, with the bacteria spread to humans from animals, mainly cattle, sheep and goats. 

The disease is preventable and a vaccine is available in Australia. However under current Australian Immunisation Guidelines the vaccine is recommended for only those aged 15 years and older in “occupational at risk” groups. Younger adolescents who are at risk of contracting Q fever because they live on farms, near abattoirs or are children of “at risk” workers, are not recommended to be vaccinated. 

Nick Wood, Associate Director, Clinical Research and Services at NCIRS, and Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, will lead a multi-centre team across Australia that will measure the safety of Q fever vaccine in young people aged 10–15 years.

Studies have demonstrated young people are at risk of developing other chronic conditions as a result of Q fever infection. It is hoped that the use of Q fever vaccine in younger adolescents could prevent the severe consequences of this disease.

If the results of the trial demonstrate the vaccine is safe and effective for use in young people, it will likely lead to a change in the vaccine recommendations, and allow younger adolescents to be vaccinated against Q fever. 

Read more about the Q fever clinical trial and NCIRS involvement here and the results of previous Q fever research here.