Hendra Virus Confirmed In Unvaccinated Horse Near Newcastle

Hendra Virus confirmed in unvaccinated horse near Newcastle | stock image

Authorities have detected a case of Hendra Virus at a property near Newcastle.

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), lab testing confirmed this week that the death of a 24-year-old unvaccinated horse was due to the virus.

NSW DPI Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Jo Coombe said a private vet attended to the affected horse.

“The horse was depressed, uncoordinated, had a nasal discharge and high temperatures, so the attending vet collected samples for testing and notified the DPI Emergency Animal Disease Hotline,” Dr Coombe said.

Experts are now working to establish the level of risk of the disease spreading to any other animals or worse, humans, who had contact with the infected horse but so far none are showing symptoms.

It is the first confirmed case of the deadly Hendra Virus in NSW since October 2021.

Statewide, 25 horses have died after being infected across 24 properties in the almost twenty years since it was first detected here, and there has never been a human fatality from the virus in NSW.

The DPI is urging horse owners to remain vigilant as the signs of Hendra virus infection are very non-specific early on.

“Vaccination of horses is the most effective way to help manage Hendra virus,” Dr Coombe said.

“Owners should also keep their horses away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. Do not place feed and water under trees and cover feed and water containers with a shelter so they cannot be contaminated from above”

“If your horse is unwell, keep people and animals away from the horse and call your private veterinarian immediately.”

Owners or private vets with concerns about a horse that may have Hendra virus, should call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

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