Update on Queensland Hendra Cases
A property near Mackay infected with Hendra virus and two adjoining properties remain under quarantine while testing continues however properties in Ingham and Rockhamptom where there were confirmed cases of Hendra virus in late May have now been released from quarantine.
The Ingham and Rockhampton properties were quarantined last month after a horse died on each property after contracting the virus.
Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said Biosecurity Queensland had completed comprehensive sampling and assessments on all animals on these properties.
"The animals were assessed daily throughout the quarantine period and have shown no clinical signs of the virus.”
Dr Symons said two horses on the Rockhampton property and a dog on the Ingham property which initially tested positive to Hendra virus genetic materials would also be released from quarantine after subsequent tests returned negative.
“All aspects of these cases were reviewed by an expert panel made up of an immunologist, senior veterinarians, and animal pathologists from across Australia.
“The experts agreed that the animals were not infected and did not pose any risk.”
Dr Symons encouraged horse owners to remain vigilant in taking precautions to protect their animals.
"While Hendra virus infections can happen at any time of the year, the majority of cases tend to occur in the July to September period.
"Horse owners should not be complacent and as much as possible keep horses away from areas where there is flying fox activity.”
29 June 2012
Biosecurity Queensland is managing a new Hendra virus case near Mackay after a positive test result was received last night.
Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said the property manager contacted a veterinarian after discovering the horse was gravely ill on Tuesday. After the vet took samples, the horse was euthanased.
“There are a number of other animals including horses on the property and on adjoining properties,” Dr Symons said.
“Tracing is a priority to determine what contact the infected horse had with other animals on all properties.
“Biosecurity Queensland officers are on the property this morning and are in the process of quarantining.
“Restrictions will apply to moving horses and horse materials on and off the infected property, and the property will be quarantined for at least one month.”
Queensland Health's Public Health experts have assessed the situation and determined only one person has had contact with the infected horse. This person has been assessed as having low-level exposure to the horse. This person wore personal protective equipment and took other appropriate precautions.
Queensland Health's Senior Director Communicable Diseases Dr Christine Selvey reassured the community that transmission of the virus required close contact with body fluids of an infected horse.
"Queensland Health staff will continue to undertake contact tracing work to ensure all people potentially exposed to the infected horse have been identified," Dr Selvey said.
"Queensland Health stands ready to provide any assistance, counselling, information, testing or treatment that may be required.
"Anyone who is concerned should contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).”
Dr Symons said this latest case was the fourth Hendra virus incident in Queensland this year. Previous incidents include one in Townsville in January and two in May – one in Ingham and one in Rockhampton.
“Testing is continuing on both the Ingham and Rockhampton properties which are still under quarantine,” he said.
“Horse owners need to remain vigilant in taking steps to reduce the risk of infection as Hendra virus can occur year round but is more common during the cooler months. If a horse becomes sick, owners should contact their veterinarian immediately as happened in this case.”