Rainfall link to spike in seasonal Q fever

RESEARCH has identified the first seasonal driver for Q fever, an infection primarily linked to transmission from livestock.

A review of more than 3000 cases of suspected Q fever recorded in a Townsville Hospital laboratory database over 11 years revealed a link to rainfall, Queensland researchers say.

The Coxiella burnetii infection was confirmed in almost 250 of these patients, and the researchers then plotted the residential location and date of around 90 of the most acute cases.

This revealed a higher case incidence in areas where suburbs had expanded over historic livestock grazing sites, and that most infections occurred in May.

The worst-affected suburbs had an incidence of notification of the infection eight times that seen across Queensland.

“The wet season is January and February, and three months later we have this spike in Q fever – which no-one has ever described in Australia before,” said Dr Katie