Biosecurity Queensland has euthanized a horse at a Cawarral horse nursery property that tested positive for Hendra virus infection. Euthanasia is the national policy for horses confirmed as being infected with the virus, which can affect both horses and humans.
Horses can have the virus in their system and recover, but there is an ongoing risk of the virus remaining dormant and reappearing in the future and this presents a potential threat to human and horse health. Hendra virus has a mortality rate of 70-80% in horses, and 50% of infected people are at a grave risk of dying.
This death brings the number of equine fatalities to four; three horses on the property died in late July and early August. Two of the dead horses that previously died were confirmed positive for Hendra, a potentially zoonotic virus that has only occurred in Australia.
Officers from the Australian Animal Health Laboratories have conducted a necropsy on the horse and taken blood and tissue samples that will help researchers to better understand the disease.
The horse's remains have been buried on the property in line with the appropriate biosecurity requirements.
The Cawarral property will remain under quarantine until Biosecurity Queensland is completely confident there is no chance of any further infection.
If anyone suspects a case of Hendra virus, please contact Biosecurity Queensland immediately on 13 25 23 or contact the Emergency Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.
For more information about Hendra virus visit Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Web site.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.