Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hendra virus alert: fourth outbreak suspected

Hendra Virus has sparked another health alert as a fourth Hendra Virus outbreak has been suspected South of Brisbane.  If confirmed, this will be the fourth outbreak in Queensland in a fortnight, following on from the third Hendra Virus case at Boonah.  This is the peak season for Hendra Virus as fruit trees are attracted into horse paddocks by fruit trees including figs and mangos flowering.

Hendra virus rarely infects horses but when it does it is often fatal. The symptoms of Hendra Virus in horses including fever, restlessness, incoordincation, breathing problems and nasal discharge.  Because the early signs may be subtle it is important to treat all sick horses with cation, as infected horses can also pass the virus on to humans, with deadly results.  Of 7 known human infections with Hendra Virus, 4 died.  In most cases humans became infected by close contact with horse body fluids such as blood or saliva.  Practicing good hygeine minimises the risk of infection, but you should contact your vet if your horse shows any of the symptoms of Hendra virus.

Read more about the latest suspected case of Hendra virus in a horse at ABC PM  http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3261753.htm

Fourth Hendra outbreak in Queensland

STEPHEN LONG: The deadly Hendra virus has claimed another horse on another Queensland property. Authorities say a horse south of Brisbane succumbed to the virus.

In the past fortnight, four other horses infected with the deadly virus have died in southern Queensland and one on the New South Wales north coast.

Seventeen people are now waiting for test results in Queensland to see if they've contracted Hendra, including a vet who suffered a needle-stick injury.

Stephanie Smail.

RICK SYMONS: There is something obviously happening out there. We've got the case in NSW, we've got the two cases here and the further suspect case. So certainly something is happening out there that for some reason the chances of horses getting Hendra virus appear to have increased.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The latest suspected outbreak has killed a 30-year-old horse on a property just south of Brisbane.

RICK SYMONS: A veterinarian was called out to a property at Park Ridge yesterday. There was a horse that was off its feed, uncoordinated. The vet took samples from them and sent them to Biosecurity Queensland for testing and the horse died overnight.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Only two people came in contact with the horse, the owner and a local vet.

Dr David Bartholomeusz owns a veterinary clinic at Gleneagle, west of Logan and the vet is one of his staff. He says the risk the vet contracted the lethal virus is low but he admits the more Hendra outbreaks in horses, the higher the risk to humans.

DAVID BARTHOLOMEUSZ: I'm seriously worried about it. But at the same time you have to go on living and this is my job. So we take as many precautions as we can to ensure that we are doing things as safely as we can and that's all we can do.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: In Queensland, three properties at Beaudesert and one further west at Mount Alford are still under quarantine after horses died from the Hendra virus on the properties in the past week.

Chief veterinary officer Dr Rick Symons says about 30 other horses are being monitored on the properties but the signs are good so far.

Read the rest of this story on a suspected fourth Hendra Virus outbreak at ABC PM at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3261753.htm

Read more Hendra Virus News

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