Q fever is an illness caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Q fever is spread to humans from infected animals. P2 face masks can reduce the risk of Q fever transmission to people working in potentially contaminated areas.
Disposable P2/N95 face masks (also known as P2/N95 respirators) are able to filter out very fine particles from the air when worn correctly, and so reduce the risk of airborne transmission of Q fever and other infectious diseases when working in potentially contaminated areas. This is not a substitute for Q fever vaccination. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent Q fever.
P2/N95 face masks are widely available from hardware stores and other safety equipment suppliers.
Take time to correctly identify which size and style of mask is suitable for you. Each time a P2/N95 face mask is used it should be fit checked before entering an unsafe environment. Fit checks ensure that the mask is sealed over the bridge of the nose and mouth, and that there are no gaps in the seal between the mask and the face.
P2/N95 face masks should always be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
People with beards should shave before using a P2 mask as a good seal between the mask and the wearer’s face cannot be guaranteed if they have facial hair.
Don’t touch the mask while it is being worn
Don’t reapply the mask after it has been removed (always use a new mask instead)
Don’t leave the mask dangling around your neck or sitting on top of your head.
Please note that this advice should not be used in place of existing personal protective equipment guidance for healthcare workers or other work sectors.
Clinical Excellence Commission. Infection Prevention and Control Practice Handbook (2016). Check the CEC HAI website for the most up to date advice.
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2010)
See related factsheets Q fever, Q fever vaccination and Q fever and farms.
For further information contact your local public health unit on 1300 066 055.