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5th Horse Dies With Hendra Virus

Tuesday, 5th July 2011

A 5th horse “has succumbed to the Hendra virus & there are fears for 7 more, as Queensland authorities battle an above average season of the baffling virus” reported The Courier-Mail. The horse from a Mount Alford property (near Boonah in Queensland’s southeast) was euthanased yesterday “after tests showed it had the bat-borne illness”. The tests “also confirmed Hendra caused the death of a horse on the property on June 20”. The test results “mean 3 horses from the same Mount Alford property have died of the disease, while another outbreak in southeast Queensland has claimed 1 horse from nearby Kerry; a horse was also put down in northern NSW on July 1 after becoming ill & was later found to have been infected with the virus”. Queensland chief vet Dr Rick Symons confirmed “7 more horses on the Mount Alford property were at risk of Hendra, even though tests have so far been negative”. Dr Symons said it was an exceptional year for Hendra & researchers were “trying to work out why - including whether the floods had played a part”. Bats “are more likely to excrete Hendra virus if they are stressed & the loss of food due to the floods could be a factor”. Meanwhile Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said Queensland Health “had not identified any more people exposed to the virus”; so far 6 people exposed to the sick horse at Mount Alford “have tested negative, but they won't be in the clear until 2 more tests return negative in the next 6 weeks”. Dr Symons “encouraged horse owners to attend an information session at Beaudesert RSL tonight or Biosecurity Queensland offices set up in Boonah & Jimboomba”. There are no movement restrictions for properties other than the 4 already quarantined & no horses have been moved out of the Mount Alford property since January. A total of 35 horses are being monitored for symptoms.

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