Queensland records first Hendra horse case of 2014

Hendra virus
Hendra virus

A case of Hendra virus in a horse has been confirmed in the Bundaberg area of Queensland, Australia.

Biosecurity Queensland said the positive test result was received late last night.

Queensland’s chief veterinary officer, Dr Rick Symons, said a private veterinarian had euthanised the horse on the affected property on Monday after it become unwell over the weekend.

“There is one other horse on the property. Tracing and risk assessments are being undertaken on any animals that may have had contact with the infected horse to work out if further testing needs to be done,” he said.

“The property has been quarantined which means restrictions apply to moving horses and horse materials on and off the property. The quarantine will be in place for at least one month.”

Symons said this case of the bat-borne virus was the first Hendra virus incident in Queensland this year.

“The timing of this case highlights the need for horse owners to remain vigilant in taking steps to reduce the risk of infection as Hendra virus can occur year round.

“Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses. It is recommended that horse owners speak to their veterinarian about vaccinating their horses.

“If a horse becomes sick, owners should contact their veterinarian immediately. People in contact with horses need to remember to continue to practice good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures even if a horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus.”

Hendra is endemic in native fruit bats known as flying foxes and is capable of infecting horses. Seven people are known to have contracted Hendra from contact with bodily fluids from infected horses. Four of the cases proved fatal.

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