A horse has died from the Hendra virus on Queensland's Gold Coast, authorities have confirmed.
The latest case adds further grief to what is the worst Hendra season on record. In all, 20 horses have died in New South Wales and Queensland since the first case was reported on June 20.
The property affected by the latest case is in the Currumbin Valley, and two people are being monitored for what has been described as low-level exposure to the infected horse.
Hendra is a deadly bat-borne virus which can be caught by horses. The infection is able to be passed from horses to humans. Since the disease was first identified in 1994, seven known human cases have occurred, four of which proved fatal.
Queensland chief veterinary officer Rick Symons said the property affected by the latest case has been quarantined.
Samples were taken from a sick horse on the property on Monday and results yesterday confirmed it was infected with Hendra virus, Symons said.
"We understand there are a number of other horses on the property and full tracing is being undertaken to assess if these or any other horses have been in contact with the infected horse.
"Biosecurity Queensland and Queensland Health staff will be on the ground door-knocking neighbours to gather information on their animals and provide them with information about Hendra virus.
"The property has been quarantined to restrict the movement of horses on and off.
"Remaining horses on the property will be monitored and sampled, undergoing three rounds of testing before they are cleared - this is typically 30 to 35 days."
Queensland Health, key horse industry groups and the Australian Veterinary Association have been notified of this latest case.
Queensland Health chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said staff were on the property today to assess the situation and whether any testing or treatment was required.
Queensland Health would undertake contact tracing work to ensure all people potentially exposed to the sick horse have been identified, she said.
"Preliminary advice shows there have been two people who may have had limited contact with the horse."
Symons said the case highlighted the need for horse owners across the state to be vigilant for signs consistent with Hendra virus infection.
"Hendra virus is not highly infectious and, consequently, the horse industry is not subject to movement restrictions for Hendra virus - except for the properties currently under quarantine," he said.
"However, horse owners need to take precautions on their properties to protect their horses from Hendra virus infection."
Nine locations in Queensland have had confirmed Hendra virus cases this year including Beaudesert, Mt Alford, Park Ridge, Kuranda, Hervey Bay, Boondall, Logan, Chinchilla and now the Gold Coast.