Hendra: Two more horse cases, possible dog infection

Dr Rick Symons
Dr Rick Symons

Two horses on the Rockhampton property where a horse died of Hendra virus last week have returned positive tests. Further north in Ingham, authorities are working to confirm whether a dog has also been infected.

The dog is on the Ingham property where a horse case was identified last week around the same time as the Rockhampton case.

Biosecurity Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Rick Symons said the two horses would be re-tested to confirm the results before a decision was made about future action. There are eight horses in total on the property.

It is standard procedure to euthanize horses that have been infected with the virus.

“It is likely that the animals in Rockhampton contracted the disease from the originally infected horse which died last week,” Dr Symons said.

Biosecurity Queensland said a dog on the Ingham property will be re-tested after it returned a weak positive test result.

“Further testing on the dog is needed as three out of the four samples taken from the animal were negative for Hendra virus,” Symons said.

“This potential case would only be the second natural infection in a dog to be recorded.

“Five horses and a number of other animals remain on the Ingham property – all other animals have returned negative results in the first round of sampling,” he said.

“Follow-up testing for all of these animals will be conducted at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong.”

Symons said the animals were being isolated until the additional testing was finalised.

“Biosecurity Queensland officers will continue to monitor the animals daily and work with the owners during this difficult time.”

Queensland Health’s Senior Director Communicable Diseases Dr Christine Selvey said that even if found to be infected, there is minimal risk of infection to humans from the dog.

Queensland health has spoken to the dog’s owners today.

Additionally, Queensland Health is investigating whether any more people had contact with these new cases of infected horses.

“All identified contacts have been assessed as having low exposure.

“Queensland Health will continue to provide information and support to those contacts,” she said.


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One thought on “Hendra: Two more horse cases, possible dog infection

  • June 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    It still absolutely amazes me that even though African Horse Sickness can *only* be transmitted by a very specific vector (the culicoides midge), and that it is NOT contagious without this insect present (so it *cannot* be passed on from horse to horse), that there is still such a severe moratorium on horse export from South Africa… And yet here we have a disease that affects not only horses, but HUMANS and other domestic animals… But there is still FREE movement allowed with horses from Australia/ New Zealand!!! How is the international horse community allowing exports from these regions??


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