Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hendra Virus Resurfaces in Australia; Vet Exposed to Potentially Fatal Disease

This just in from Oz, courtesy of,10117,19578115-29277,00.html

A VIRUS fatal to both horses and humans has been found in southeast Queensland.

It has been confirmed by the Department of Primary Industries that a single affected horse has died from the Hendra virus at Peachester, near Beerwah.

"The property on which the horse was kept has been quarantined," primary industries minister Tim Mulherin said.

The diseased horse had been in contact with one other horse and two people, including Peachester veterinarian Rebecca Day.

The virus was first discovered 12 years ago in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra, when well-known horse trainer Vic Rail and 13 horses died of the disease.

One other person has died after acquiring the virus in 1995. This is the sixth separate occurrence of the Hendra since 1994.

Fruit bats are a natural host for the virus and horses are thought to be infected by eating virus-contaminated material.