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July 28, 2011

Hendra Virus Claims 14th Horse In Australia’s Recent Outbreak

The Hendra virus continues to claim lives in Queensland and New South Wales, having killed the 14th horse since the outbreak began last month.

A horse in the Chinchilla area died on July 22.

"The infected horse had shown rapid onset of illness that was typical of Hendra virus and died in the care of a private practitioner on Friday," said Queensland Chief Biosecurity Officer Dr. Jim Thompson.

The property has been quarantined, and the four remaining horses on the property will undergo three rounds of testing over approximately 30-35 days until cleared for the virus.

As of July 26, the Australian Animal Health Laboratory also confirmed Hendra virus in a dog.

"This is the first time outside of a laboratory that an animal other than a flying fox, a horse or a human, has been confirmed with Hendra virus infection," said Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Rick Symons.

"The dog is on a property where Hendra virus infection has been confirmed and is currently under quarantine.”

The 13th horse, which died on June 28 in the Logan area, was confirmed to have had the virus at the time of death.  

Initial test results in the horse came back negative for the virus.

“Further testing showed the horse had extremely low levels of Hendra virus in its blood when it was sampled,” said the Queensland Government Biosecurity July 22 statement.  “This, together with the level of antibodies, suggests that the horse may have had a previous Hendra virus infection and developed some antibodies.”

The horse was isolated, so there is no need for the property to be quarantined. The current number of quarantined horses in Queensland is 83, plus four horses in Chinchilla, with 10 confirmed horse deaths. Currently three properties in NSW are under quarantine, with four confirmed horse deaths in the area.

 
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