Hendra virus update

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This is the latest from the QLD breeders association on the Hendra virus in Beaudesert.

Thoroughbred Breeder’s Queensland Association President Basil Nolan is urging breeders not to panic in the wake of this latest Hendra Virus outbreak.
A private vet was called to a sick horse on a property at Kerry, near Beaudesert on Saturday. The horse died the following day.
Queensland chief veterinary officer Dr Rick Symons said blood samples had tested positive for Hendra virus last night (Tuesday night) and control procedures were immediately implemented.
Eight people who had contact with the horse are being monitored. It could be up to three weeks before their test results are returned.
Other horses on the two affected properties have been quarantined and Biosecurity Queensland staff has been on-site to give advice to concerned locals.
The vet who raised the alarm has been praised for his quick thinking in suspecting the sick horse had the deadly virus.
“This is the 15th known incident of Hendra virus infection since 1994,” Dr Symons said.
Of the seven people infected in that time, four have died. Thirty horses have also died after contracting the virus, which is linked to flying foxes.
TBQA President Basil Nolan said breeders were wary, but calm.
“It’s not a virus that can easily spread, like equine influenza, so if they can quarantine the site it should be kept under control.
“We’ve come a long way since the last devastating outbreak two years ago when Rockhampton vet Dr Alistair Rogers died after contracting the disease,” he said.
Mr Nolan said Beaudesert’s relative isolation and the disease’s “fragile nature” meant simple control measures should be enough to stop its spread.
“It’s fairly difficult to be transmitted from horses to humans — they’ve got to be in contact with the bodily fluids,” he said.
Mr Nolan said previous outbreaks have been at this time of year, as we come into the breeding season, and they have been isolated incidents.
“Hendra Virus does kill people though, so we’ve got to be careful, keep an eye out for the symptoms and maintain good hygiene practices when tending our horses.”
A list of symptoms and control measures are available on the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries website at http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_2900.htm
More information can also be found on the TBQA website www.queenslandbreeders.com.au