Hendra Virus: Initial Tests Negative on Bowen Horses

The initial Hendra virus test results for the 16 horses on the three quarantined properties at Bowen, in North Queensland, have come back negative.

All horses on the affected properties will remain under quarantine until the period of virus incubation has passed and all tests have returned negative results.

Biosecurity Queensland began its investigation in this area earlier this month. A private vet reported a suspect case after attending a sick horse, which was euthanized and returned positive Hendra results.

Fruit bats (also called flying foxes) indigenous to Australia appear to be Hendra's natural host. In past outbreaks, humans have become infected by handling infected horses. Hendra virus has a mortality rate of 70-80% in horses, and 50% in infected people.

Veterinarian Alister Rodgers, BVSc, died earlier this month after treating a foal with Hendra virus on a Cawarral property. Rodgers was the fourth known human fatality from the illness since it was discovered in 1994. Four horses on that property also died or were euthanized.

Community engagement efforts continue in Bowen and surrounding locations this week. See the latest information about Hendra virus.  

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