Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hendra virus alert after horse dies in Queensland: humans and horses in quarantine

A Hendra virus outbreak near Beaudesert in S.E. Queensland has left two properties in Quarantine, with vets and other animal handlers possibly exposed to the deadly virus.

About Hendra Virus

Hendra Virus is a very serious infection which has only emerged as an important pathogen in the last 25 years.  So far it is known to be deadly to horses and humans.  Hendra virus is carried by fruit bats but rarely spreads to other species.  Horses are thought to occasionally become infected from exposure to feed or water contaminated by infected fruit bats: probably from their urine, faeces or reproductive fluids.  Humans have caught the infection from infected horses.  There are no known cases of direct human infection from bats.  Equine hendra virus infections are uncommon but diagnosis is becoming more common as vets and horse owners become better educated of the risks of Hendra virus.

Hendra virus causes a wide range of symptoms in horses including fever, respiratory and neurological problems.  Initially the symptoms were thought to be fairly specific and vets watched for a respiratory and neurologic signs together.  As the number of cases studied grew it has become apparent that Hendra virus can present with a wide range of symptoms to the point where many sick horses have symptoms which could be early stages of hendra virus, adding to safety and treatment challenges for equine vets.

So far of 7 confirmed Hendra virus infections in humans 4 of the victims died, with 2 of these being vets.  There have been 14 clusters of Hendra virus infection identified in horses in that time.

Read more about Hendra virus at CSIRO

Read the latest Hendra virus news, like  (Excerpt below)

Dallas McMillan

Cairns Vet Clinic

Read more about Hendra virus at Cairns Pet News

Hendra virus

TESTING TIME: DPI officials and vets test horses at an Equine Nursery during a previous Hendra oubreak. Picture: Jeff Camden

Hendra alert after horse killed by deadly virus south of Brisbane

THERE has been another outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus in Queensland, with one horse dead and two properties quarantined.

A horse fell ill on a property at Kerry, near Beaudesert south of Brisbane, and died after being moved to a second nearby site at the weekend. Both properties have been quarantined.

Tests have confirmed it had Hendra, a virus that's killed four of the seven people infected with it since its discovery in 1994.

A vet called to care for the sick horse and seven other people who had contact with the animal now face a series of tests and preventative drug treatment.

Acting Chief Health Officer Aaron Groves said: "At the moment we know people have come in contact with the horse but they need to have come into contact with the horse when it's been ill.

 "The virus can affect the horse quite quickly. Humans need to come into contact with the horse's saliva and horse manure.

"We know the vets have come into contact and we suspect another few people may have come into contact with the horse at some stage."

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