Screening for Q Fever

Q Fever is a severe, flu-like illness and is endemic in Northern Australia. The pathogenic agent causing Q Fever, Coxiella burnetii, not only has the potential to infect military personnel but could potentially be manipulated for use as a biowarfare agent.

The work being undertaken by the Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory (ARRL) and DST under this DMTC-led project capitalises on ARRL’s experience and expertise in dealing with Q Fever and represents Australia’s contribution to an international program to test and evaluate the accuracy of the FilmArray Warrior Panel, a diagnostic panel device.

The Warrior Panel can identify up to 16 biowarfare pathogens in a single fluid sample and has been developed with specific application to military and national security contexts in mind, rather than broader clinical applications.