THE livestock industry loses 1,700 weeks in productivity each year and millions of dollars across the supply chain due to a lack of understanding around Q fever, a campaign being run by Victoria’s peak farmer group will show.
The Victorian Farmers Federation livestock group is continuing a campaign this spring hitting home the seriousness of Q fever as a drain on the livestock supply chain.
The $100,000 campaign includes industry workshops, preparedness toolkits and targeted advertising to promote the dangers of Q fever and the importance of vaccination.
The VFF is also seeking additional funding from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Agriculture to subsidise vaccination clinics across the state.
“Q fever is carried by cattle, sheep, goats, feral animals and rodents, and can infect humans,’’ VFF livestock president Leonard Vallance said.
“It affects farmers, farm employees, shearers, animal carriers, abattoir workers, meat inspectors and vets, so if you work with livestock right across the supply chain, you are at risk of getting Q fever.’’
He said Q fever was a massive issue with around 600 cases reported across Australia each year, which cost industry millions of dollars annually in lost productivity, medical costs and other expenses.
“Q fever costs the meat industry at least $1 million annually and when you add that up across all the livestock industries, it’s significant and really underscores the importance of getting your employees vaccinated.
“The vaccine is 96 to 98 per cent effective for cases vaccinated during incubation and totally effective when it’s not, so it’s a one-off expense that becomes a worthy investment when you consider the lost productivity, health problems and potential legal issues you risk if you don’t get your staff inoculated.’’
Mr Vallance encouraged livestock industry employers to come to VFF-run events and do their part to minimise the risks of contracting Q fever by staying on top of the latest information about the disease.
“This campaign will give the supply chain an opportunity to improve its knowledge of Q fever and how it could be affected if not vaccinated to safeguard against lost productivity and economic issues,’’ he said.
“It’s also up to employers to make the effort to read the fact sheets and come to our seminars to learn just how destructive the disease can be to the livestock industry.’’
More information can be found at: www.vff.org.au/qfever