Hendra Virus Quarantine Lifted in Queensland

Two properties near Townsville, Queensland, that have been under quarantine for Hendra virus have been given the all clear, according to a press release by Biosecurity Queensland Feb. 16.

Rick Symons, BVSc, MBA, PhD, Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer, said a series of negative test results on nine horses, seven dogs, and one cat at two properties in the Townsville region meant that the quarantines could be lifted and animals could again be moved on and off the properties.

"Since June 2011, there have been 14 horses confirmed with Hendra virus and, for the first time outside of a laboratory, a dog tested positive for Hendra virus antibodies," Symons said.

"Horse owners should remain vigilant against Hendra virus.

"It is possible for Hendra virus infections to occur at anytime throughout the year, so it is very important horse owners practice good biosecurity on their properties to protect themselves and their animals.

"If horse owners notice any signs of illness in their animals, they should contact their local veterinarian."

Symons reminded horse owners that they can also play their part in helping Biosecurity Queensland learn more about the virus by sharing their experiences in the ´Horse Owners Survey on Hendra virus'.

"The survey is already providing valuable information for both Biosecurity agencies in Queensland and New South Wales," Symons said.

"There has so far been a good response with more than 750 horse owners completing the survey across Queensland and New South Wales.

"But we need feedback from more horse owners. Understanding horse owners' husbandry, property management, and feeding practices provides valuable information in understanding the transmission of Hendra virus. Every horse owner's feedback is important.

"Biosecurity Queensland is focused on learning more about the virus to ensure a safer environment for animals, horse owners, vets, and the community."

The survey has been extended to March 31  to allow even more horse owners to have their say. The survey can be completed online at https://www.research.net/s/Horse_Owner_Survey_on_Hendra_virus

Hendra virus information for horse owners packs are available from http://www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au/

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