Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2024

Hendra Virus Scare In Australia

Last week a horse was diagnosed and destroyed after contracting the Hendra virus in Tewantin, Queensland, Australia.

Since 1994, when the first Hendra outbreak was recorded, there have been 14 outbreaks killing more than 40 horses and four humans in Australia. Dr. Alister Rodgers, a veterinarian, was the most recent human to succumb to the illness in September of 2009.

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Last week a horse was diagnosed and destroyed after contracting the Hendra virus in Tewantin, Queensland, Australia.

Since 1994, when the first Hendra outbreak was recorded, there have been 14 outbreaks killing more than 40 horses and four humans in Australia. Dr. Alister Rodgers, a veterinarian, was the most recent human to succumb to the illness in September of 2009.

The Hendra virus is part of the Henipavirus family, which lives naturally in the Pteropid fruit bat, commonly known as the flying fox. This rare zoonotic disease is thought to pass to horses through ingestion of flying fox urine or birthing fluid. Humans contract the virus from direct contact with infected horses. Though infection is rare, the fatality rate in humans is more than 50 percent.

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The most common clinical signs in horses include respiratory distress, frothy nasal discharge, a high fever and elevated heart rate.

In the latest case, 11 people are undergoing testing after coming into contact with the Hendra affected horse. So far six have been found virus free, according to the Brisbane Times, although positive results may not show up for weeks.

In response to the latest outbreak, the state government of Queensland, Australia, along with the Australian federal government, has pledged $600,000 towards research on a Hendra virus vaccine for horses.

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