Hendra Testing Continues on Horses at Australian Vet Clinic

Biosecurity Queensland continued with tests on samples from 37 horses at a Brisbane area vet practice today while working with Queensland Health and various horse industry groups to ensure that the risks involved with Hendra virus are widely known.

"There is a quarantine, but it is only at the veterinary clinic where the sick horses were located," said Ron Glanville, BSc, BVSc, MVS, Biosecurity Queensland´s chief veterinary officer. "I want to reassure Queensland horse owners and horse industries that we are not facing a lockdown situation or movement restrictions."

Areas of Queensland were placed under equine movement restrictions in 2007 and early 2008 due to an outbreak of equine influenza.

A private veterinarian alerted Biosecurity Queensland about the sick horses on Monday. The clinical signs were not consistent with signs previously seen in Hendra virus cases and the decision to quarantine the property was initially a precautionary measure because of the severity of the illness in the affected horses, rather than suspicion of Hendra virus.

However, as part of its routine procedures, Biosecurity Queensland tested for a range of diseases including Hendra virus, which was confirmed as the cause yesterday.  

Hendra is a rare but fatal virus that occasionally affects horses. This is the ninth report of Hendra virus in Queensland since 1994.

Hendra virus can spread from horses to humans, but that is extremely rare.

For more information see Hendra Virus Reported at Australian Equine Clinic.

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