Prevalence of markers of Q fever exposure in the Kimberley, Western Australia

D.B. Mak, D.F. Fry, Mahesh Bulsara

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Although a large pastoral industry exists in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, there isno previously published information about the prevalence of immune markers for Q feverexposure in this region’s population. This paper identifies the prevalence of, and factorsassociated with, positive immune markers of Q fever, and reports the uptake of Q fevervaccination by eligible subjects in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Data regarding Qfever risk-factors were obtained using a standard questionnaire. Immunity and previousexposure to Q fever were assessed using both serology and a skin test, in accordance withaccepted protocol. Fifty-nine subjects underwent Q fever pre-vaccination testing.The prevalenceof a positive skin and/or blood test,indicating past exposure was 66 per cent (95% CI 52% – 78%).After controlling for age and having lived on a farm at any time, employment in the pastoralindustry was the only factor significantly associated with being skin and/or blood test positive(OR=24.6, 95% CI 3.0 – 204). Acceptance of vaccination was high, with 75 per cent of eligiblesubjects undergoing vaccination. The high prevalence of immune markers for Q fever in theKimberley in this sample indicates that the disease is present in the region, despite the lastrecorded case being in 1986. Ensuring that Q fever vaccination is readily accessible topastoralists, abattoir workers and other at-risk groups is a challenge that needs to be met bythese industries and health services of the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-271
JournalCommunicable Diseases Intelligence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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