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3 Hendra Outbreaks In Qld & Northern NSW

Monday, 4th July 2011

In Australia, “another Queensland vet fears for his life after being exposed to a horse infected with the Hendra virus” reported The Australian. Vet Peter Prenzler “is among 6 people who face a long wait to be cleared of contracting the potentially fatal virus, after a horse tested positive to the virus at a Mount Alford property southwest of Brisbane”. This is the 2nd Hendra outbreak in Queensland, following last week’s outbreak in the Beaudesert area & “there has also been an outbreak in northern NSW”. So far the 6 people exposed to the sick horse at Mount Alford have tested negative “but they won't be in the clear until 2 more blood samples taken over 6 weeks also test negative”. Biosecurity Queensland “believe a horse euthanased on the property on June 20 was the primary case”. Dr Prenzler (who treated both horses) said the 1st horse “had all the signs of colic” & he didn't suspect Hendra; but when he was called to the property a 2nd time & witnessed a horse “with neurological symptoms alarm bells started to ring. . . . . So I put gloves on & a mask & took blood samples & nasal swabs. I then picked up the phone & rang DPI (Department of Primary Industries) & said I've got an interesting case here.” When the results came back, “it was a shock to the system because potentially I could have taken in a virus that's got a very high death rate in humans.” Dr Prenzler said he didn't wear protective gear when dealing with the 1st horse & “I could have been exposed to the virus for 13 days now, which is smack bang in the middle of the incubation period.” He had taken a blood sample of the 1st sick horse & refrigerated it as a precaution & “that has now been sent to CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Victoria. Biosecurity Queensland says it's difficult to diagnose Hendra as it has varied symptoms which resemble other conditions, including colic.

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