Hendra: Horse Events in Area Clear to Continue, Vet Says

The horse community is being encouraged to continue with planned events as authorities continue to respond to the Hendra virus incident at Cawarral, near Rockhampton. Three horses on a Cawarral, Queensland, property died in late July and early August. Two of the dead horses were confirmed positive for Hendra, a potentially zoonotic virus that has only occurred in Australia.

A veterinarian exposed to a horse infected with Hendra virus has also tested positive for the disease and was hospitalized in an induced coma (read more).

Biosecurity Queensland acting Chief Veterinary Officer Rick Symons, BVSc, MBA, PhD, said there are a range of equestrian events happening in the Rockhampton district this weekend and competitors are encouraged to attend as they would normally.

"I want to assure event organizers and competitors that there are no additional constraints regarding attending events such as pony club, campdrafts, and dressage competitions," Symons said. "This incident is a timely reminder to event organizers and competitors of their responsibilities when holding and participating in events. This includes continuing to collect information on all horses attending events, maintaining good biosecurity at events, and not allowing sick horses to attend events, amongst other measures."

To enhance community confidence, the Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries' mobile office will attend several horse and livestock events in the next few days.

Experienced Biosecurity officers and Queensland Health staff will be on hand to present Hendra virus information relating to animal and human health to horse owners and other members of the community.

The mobile office will be at the following locations:

  • Saturday, Aug 22: Yeppoon Dressage Meet 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
    Milroy Drive, Yeppoon
  • Sunday, Aug. 23: Paradise Lagoon Pony Club Camp draft 9.30 a.m. - 12.30 p.m.
    9 Mile Rd, Gracemere

There will also be staff and a display at the Clarke Creek Camp draft, Old Pacific Highway, Marlborough on Sunday Aug. 23, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

More information on holding equestrian activities can be found at the Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries Web site. If you have concerns about possible exposure to Hendra virus, contact Queensland Health hotline on 13 Health (13 43 25 84).

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.