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Hendra - Full Report - two new Hendra virus cases confirmed

Posted in Equine Health @ May 30th 2012 12:20pm - By Biosecurity Queensland

Two new Hendra virus cases confirmed - full report from Biosecurity  -  

Biosecurity Queensland is managing two new Hendra virus cases – one near Rockhampton and the other near Ingham - after 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. There are other horses on the property – these animals will be assessed today.

Dr Symons said a horse had also died on a property in Ingham on Monday with results confirming it had Hendra virus infection. Five horses remain on this property and will 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,” Dr 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 will travel to both properties today to assess the situation and determine whether any humans had contact with the infected horses and require testing.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young reassured the community that transmission of the virus 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," Dr Young said.

"Queensland Health stands ready to provide any assistance, counselling, information, testing or treatment that may be required."

"Anyone who is concerned should contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). 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.

For more information, including the latest guidelines for veterinarians on Hendra virus, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au

Facts for horse owners - Reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection on your property:

  • Horse feed and water containers should be removed from under trees. If possible, place feed and water containers under a shelter.
  • Owners should inspect and identify flowering/fruiting trees on their property. Horses should be removed from paddocks where flowering/fruiting trees are attracting flying foxes. Horses should be returned only after the trees have stopped flowering/fruiting and the flying foxes have gone. If horses cannot be removed from the paddock, consider fencing (temporary or permanent) to restrict access to flowering/ fruiting trees. Alternatively, try to temporarily remove horses during times of peak flying fox activity (usually at dusk and during the night). Clean up any fruit debris underneath the trees before returning horses.
  • Ensure that sick horses are isolated from other horses, people and animals until a veterinarian’s opinion is obtained.
  • Try to avoid close contact with a sick horse and personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, masks and gloves should be worn if handling a suspected sick horse.  

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