Published Date: 2009-12-25 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Q fever - Australia: (SA), laboratory-acquired
Archive Number: 20091225.4345
Q FEVER - AUSTRALIA: (SOUTH AUSTRALIA), LABORATORY-ACQUIRED
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 17 Dec 2009
Source: Big Medicine [edited]
Two SA Pathology employees have contracted Q fever following a breach
in laboratory protocol involving the bacterium. A 33-year-old man was
diagnosed with the illness on Monday [14 Dec 2009], and has since
recovered fully with treatment. A 31 [year-old] woman was diagnosed
on Thursday [17 Dec 2009] and is in a satisfactory condition.
SA Health's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paddy Phillips, said Q
fever is caught from infected animals, person-to-person spread was
extremely unlikely, and the risk to the public is low.
"Approximately half of all people infected do not develop symptoms
and, in the majority of others, illness is mild. Hospitalization and
serious complications are rare," Professor Phillips said.
"Infection usually occurs through inhalation of bacteria from animals
and animal secretions or products, and the incubation period is
usually between 2 and 4 weeks. The breach of laboratory protocols
occurred 5 weeks ago and has been thoroughly investigated. The breach
involved a live specimen being transported incorrectly in SA
Pathology's laboratory on Frome Road [in Adelaide]."
"At this stage, SA Pathology cannot confirm a definitive link between
the breach in protocol and the positive test results recorded by our
employees this week. SA Pathology is also offering screening to any
employee who may require it."
Q Fever is an infection caused by _Coxiella burnetii_, which is
almost always related to direct or indirect contact with infected
animals. Most people who contract Q fever recover fully with or
without treatment. However some people may develop a chronic illness
lasting months. Acute and chronic Q fever can be treated with
SA Health has consulted with the Public Services Association, who
will provide additional advice and support to SA Pathology employees.
[Posted by Hal Newman]
[The circumstances of the breach in laboratory protocol are not
spelled out. The Q fever rickettsial bacterium is able to be spread
over even substantial distances. The manifestations of Q fever are
not stated in the posting. - Mod.LL]
[South Australia can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail
interactive map of Australia at
<http://healthmap.org/r/011e>. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]