Q fever

Statutory notification

Public health management

Important information

  • Infectious agent: Coxiella burnetii bacteria.
  • Transmission: Q fever transmission occurs most commonly through air-borne dissemination of Coxiella in dust or aerosols from premises contaminated by placental tissues, birth fluids, and excreta of infected animals. Contamination also occurs through direct contact with contaminated materials, such as wool, straw, and laundry.
  • Incubation period: Usually from 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the size of the infecting dose.
  • Infectious period: Direct person-to-person transmission occurs rarely, if ever, although contaminated clothing may be a source of infection.
  • Case exclusion: As recommended by doctor.
  • Contact exclusion: Do not exclude.
  • Treatment: Antibiotic treatment is available.
  • Immunisation: Recommended for those at occupational risk of infection. Before vaccination, a skin test must be conducted to determine prior exposure and immunity to Q fever. Vaccination is contraindicated in cases of previous infection or vaccination for Q fever. See Australian Immunisation Handbook, Department of Health – Q fever (external site).
  • Case follow-up: Is conducted by public health units (Healthy WA).


Notifiable disease data and reports

Produced by

Public Health