A new case of the deadly Hendra virus in a horse has been confirmed in the Brisbane Valley, in Queensland.
Biosecurity Queensland said a positive test result for the bat-borne virus was received late last night. It is the third case in Queensland this year.
Queensland Chief Biosecurity Officer Dr Jim Thompson said one horse had died on the property after becoming unwell over the weekend.
“Biosecurity Queensland is in the process of quarantining the property.
“There are other horses on the property and we will be working to determine what contact the infected horse may have had with these other animals.
“Testing and monitoring will then be undertaken over the next month.
“While under quarantine, restrictions will apply to moving horses and horse materials on and off the infected property.”
Staff from West Moreton Hospital and Health Service’s Public Health Unit are assessing the situation to determine if any humans had exposure to the infected horse.
They are also conducting contact tracing work to ensure all people potentially exposed to the sick horse have been identified.
Acting West Moreton Hospital and Health Service Public Health physician Dr Kari Jarvinen said transmission of the virus required close contact with body fluids of the sick horse.
“There is no evidence the virus can be passed directly from flying foxes to humans, from the environment to humans, or can be transmitted by airborne droplets,” Jarvinen said.
Thompson said even though most cases tended to occur in the cooler months between July and September, Hendra virus infection can occur throughout the year.
“It is therefore important for horse owners to take steps to protect themselves and their animals year round.
“Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses. It is recommended horse owners speak to their veterinarian about the option of vaccinating their horse against Hendra virus.”