Compensation for victims of the Q fever outbreak in Noord-Brabant will be limited to €15,000 per person, healthcare minister Bruno Bruins has announced.
The government has set aside a total of €14.5 million for people who contracted the illness during an outbreak that originated in the village of Herpen in 2007. An estimated 10,000 people were infected over the next three years, 74 of whom have died.
Ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer concluded in a report published in 2012 that the government had seriously breached public trust by failing to inform people of the risks to health or acknowledge the pattern of the disease.
The Dutch outbreak remains the largest mass incidence of the disease to be recorded. Ordinarily around 15 cases of Q fever a year are reported in the Netherlands.
Q fever is a disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals. The main symptom is fatigue, which affects the patient’s ability to work or participate in society and in rare cases can be fatal.
Since 2009 it has been compulsory to vaccinate all sheep, goats and related animals for Q fever and stricter hygiene measures have been put in place on farms.
Under the regulation announced by Bruins, patients with Q fever or Q fever-related fatigue, or relatives of those who have died of the disease, will be entitled to a one-off payment of up to €15,000, if they apply before January 31.
The minister acknowledged that the disease had had an enormous impact on victims and their families. ‘Also, people have been left in the lurch and feel they have not been heard,’ he said.
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