A small cluster of Q fever cases has been reported in the Riverland town of Waikerie, prompting livestock handlers and abattoir workers to ensure they are vaccinated against the disease.
But, in a unique finding, four confirmed cases have been detected in a 1-kilometre radius of a goat abattoir, not related to meat or livestock workers as is generally the case.
Another three cases of the bacterial infection are still under investigation.
The SA Health Department says it is likely the infection is a result of inhalation of contaminated dust from the abattoir.
The department has been working jointly with the District Council of Loxton Waikerie, the Environmental Protection Authority, Primary Industries & Resources SA, and abbatoir owner, Kerridale International Trading, to institute control measures, most importantly dust control and containment of livestock.
District Council of Loxton Waikerie director of environmental services, Neil Martinson, said there was some concern for others in the community, particularly those with contact with the abbattoir, such as delivery persons.
Abattoir workers are vaccinated against the disease themselves, so they are generally immune to infection, which is carried by wild and domestic animals.
SOURCE: Extract from report in the Stock Journal, SA, April 26.