Hendra infection confirmed in two Queensland horses

Hendra virus

Two cases of Hendra infection in horses have been confirmed by biosecurity officials in Queensland, Australia.

One case is near Rockhampton and the other near Ingham.

Biosecurity Queensland said positive test results were received late last night.

Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said a horse died on Saturday on a property near Rockhampton, with test results confirming the horse had Hendra virus.

Symons said there were other horses on the property, which were being assessed today.

Symons said a horse had also died on a property in Ingham on Monday, with results confirming it also had Hendra. Five horses remain on that property and will also be assessed today.

“Biosecurity Queensland is in the process of quarantining the properties and will test and monitor the other horses at these locations over the next month,” Symons said.

“Tracing will be a priority to determine what contact the deceased horses may have had with other animals.

“Movement restrictions will apply to moving horses and horse materials on and off the infected properties.”

Queensland Health’s Public Health experts were travelling to both properties today to assess the situation and determine whether any humans had contact with the infected horses and therefore require testing.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said transmission of the virus to people required close contact with body fluids of the sick horse.

“Queensland Health staff will continue to undertake contact tracing work to ensure all people potentially exposed to the sick horse have been identified,” Young said.

Since the start of 2011 until now there has been 11 Hendra virus incidents in Queensland resulting in the death or euthanasia of 14 horses and one dog. These two new cases brings the total for 2011 and 2012 to 13 cases and 16 horse deaths.

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