Hendra Farms Released from Quarantine

The five remaining properties involved in the recent Hendra virus incidents at Cawarral and Bowen in central Queensland, Australia, were given the all clear after test results were received Oct. 13.

The results were the final piece of information required to allow all quarantine restrictions to be lifted.

At the peak of the response, 22 properties had movement restrictions in place, including a number of properties that received horses from the infected property at Cawarral before the presence of the virus was known. This included one property in New South Wales.

Biosecurity Queensland Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer Rick Symons, BVSc, MBA, PhD, said the properties were released after 32 days had elapsed since the time of last exposure, and definitive test results were negative for Hendra virus.

"This is great news for the owners of the properties and I´m sure a weight has been lifted off their shoulders," Symons said. "This essentially means they can return to normal activities and they no longer have any quarantine measures in place, or any restrictions on horse movements to and from their properties.

Symons thanked the property owners, horse owners, local authorities, and local community members who found themselves in an extraordinarily challenging situation. He said their cooperation was critical in effectively responding to these incidents.

"Sadly, the Cawarral incident was not without tragedy as our colleague Alister Rodgers lost his life to this deadly virus," Symons noted. "Our deepest sympathies go out to his family."

Response to the incident will be subject to a routine internal review, the findings of which might guide future response efforts to emergency animal diseases, including Hendra virus.

"Biosecurity Queensland takes Hendra virus extremely seriously and will continue to work with the Australian Animal Health Laboratories, the peak veterinary bodies, key stakeholders to the Queensland horse industry, and other research institutions to learn more about the virus so it can be better prevented and managed in the future," Symons said.

For more information on Hendra virus visit the Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries Web site.  

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