First hendra tests on Qld woman negative


Initial blood tests from the Rockhampton woman who suffered high-level exposure to the hendra virus while caring for a critically ill foal have come back negative.

“This means the patient does not now have hendra virus and this gives us some confidence,”  Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said.

“However, to be absolutely certain, the patient will continue to be monitored and blood tests will be taken again in three weeks and six weeks time.”

The woman was offered, and has accepted, the  experimental monoclonal antibody treatment which scientists believe may avert fatal infections in those exposed.

“The incubation period for hendra virus infection in humans is 5-21 days, and we know that the monoclonal antibodies must be given before any symptoms begin,” Young said.

“The patient does not currently have any symptoms.

“I can also confirm that the patient today received an infusion of monoclonal antibodies without any adverse reaction,” she said.

Authorities consider that the woman’s partner and a veterinarian who sustained low-level exposure and were not at risk.

The property, a hobby farm, has been quarantined and two horses and two dogs that live there are being monitored. They are showing no signs of illness.

The foal’s death last weekend is the fifth Hendra case in Queensland this year.

Three central Queensland properties around Mackay remain  under quarantine after a horse tested positive to the bat-borne virus last month.

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