Hendra virus claims fourth horse death on NSW mid north coast

10 Jul 2013

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Hendra virus claims fourth horse death on NSW mid north coast

Another horse from a second Kempsey property on the mid north coast has tested positive for the Hendra virus, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has confirmed today.

Another horse from a second Kempsey property on the mid north coast has tested positive for the Hendra virus, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has confirmed today.

“The 13 year-old quarterhorse was not doing well, had become dull and reluctant to move, and was treated with a course of antibiotics,” Acting NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Therese Wright said today.

“The horse’s condition deteriorated rapidly on Monday with neurological changes, aimless wandering, jaundice and fever and it was sampled by a private veterinarian.

“The Hendra virus was confirmed today by the State’s virology laboratory at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute.

“A second in contact horse will be vaccinated and will be closely monitored by a Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) veterinarian.

“The horse will be tested three times before the property is released from quarantine.

“Tracing is also underway to determine if any horses have left the property in recent weeks.”

Dr Wright said the uptake of vaccination unfortunately remains low and NSW authorities are calling on all horse owners to vaccinate their horses against the Hendra virus.

“Vaccinating your horse is the single most effective way of protecting you and yourself from the Hendra virus.”

NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, urged people who are in contact with sick horses to take precautions to protect themselves from Hendra and other viruses.

The local public health unit is in the process of assessing the risk to the humans who came into contact with the affected horse.

“All people, including owners and vets, who handle sick horses should always wear gloves, a mask, protective clothing and eye protection as a precaution,” Dr Sheppeard said.

“Horse blood, nose and lung secretions, and urine can all carry the virus and put people who come in contact with them at risk. Human treatments for Hendra remain experimental, so avoidance of exposure to the virus is the safest course of action.”

Contact: Steve Green

Phone: 6391 3686 or 0427 192 658

Media contact: Steve Green 6391 3686 or 0427 192 658