News

Microbats link to 'world first' deadly virus death

MICROBATS: Hinterland microbats commonly take up residence in roof spaces.
MICROBATS: Hinterland microbats commonly take up residence in roof spaces. Doug Beckers

TWO horses have been euthanased in the Southern Downs after testing positive to Australian Bat Lyssavirus, in what is believed to be a world first.

APN understands that the virus is most likely to have come from microbats in the area.

Biosecurity Queensland is putting the the property in quarantine.

One horse was believed to be euthanased on May 11 after falling ill and a second horse was also put down after showing similar symptoms five days earlier.

There is believed to be 20 other horses on the property who are potentially infected with the deadly virus.

The site will remain under quarantine while further testing is conducted on the remaining horses.

Staff from the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Public Health Unit will visit this property to assess the situation and identify any human potentially exposed to this horse.

The public health staff will interview all people identified as having been in contact with the horse to determine whether any post-exposure treatment is required.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it is important to remember that human cases of Lyssavirus are incredibly rare.

"There have only been three recorded cases in Australia, all in Queensland, and sadly, all three people passed away," Dr Young said.

"All three cases were the result of direct exposure to bats with Lyssavirus. There are no documented cases of transmission of Lyssavirus or rabies from horses to humans. However, the theoretical possibility does exist.

"We do however have a preventative treatment that is effective in any person not displaying symptoms of the virus.

"Warwick and Toowoomba Hospitals will provide a free course of this preventative treatment to anyone who public health staff determine was in close contact with this dead horse resulting in a risk of exposure to the virus. Simply patting a horse would not constitute exposure."

People who have had a potential exposure to ABLV require an injection of rabies immunoglobulin and a series of four rabies vaccine injections.
 
Any Darling Downs local who believes they have been in direct contact with, or in close proximity to this horse, can also contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice.

Staff at 13 HEALTH will help determine whether any further action, including testing or treatment, is required
ABLV is carried by bats and flying foxes.

 

Horse had first been tested for Hendra

Biosecurity Queensland chief biosecurity officer Dr Jim Thompson said the horse tested negative for Hendra virus infection but further testing returned a positive result for ABLV.

"Another horse showing similar symptoms was euthanased at the same property five days earlier.

"There are 20 other horses on the property. The vet involved in both cases used PPE and took appropriate precautions.

"The site will remain under quarantine while further testing is conducted on the remaining horses.

"ABLV is carried by bats and flying foxes."
 

What we know about about lyssavirus

In 1996, a new virus was discovered in Australian bats - identified as a lyssavirus, the new virus is a close relative to the common rabies virus found overseas.

In May 1996 a black flying fox showing nervous signs was found near Ballina, NSW.

Samples were sent to Yeerongpilly Veterinary Laboratory in Queensland as part of a surveillance program for the Hendra virus.

A fixed-tissue brain sample was also sent to CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong.

The Hendra virus tests were negative, but the sample tested positive for rabies.

Isolation and gene sequencing showed that it was a lyssavirus, which is closely related to common rabies.

In November 1996 a Queensland woman who had recently become a bat handler, became ill.

She initially suffered numbness and weakness in her arm which progressed to coma and death.

Samples sent to AAHL during this woman's illness confirmed that she had been infected with lyssavirus.

In December 1998 a woman from Mackay in North Queensland was also diagnosed with the disease and later died.

She had been bitten by a bat more than two years earlier, before the infection was first identified in humans and before information about vaccination and bat handling precautions were circulated.

Lyssavirus has been isolated, or infection demonstrated, in both insectivorous and fruit bats (flying foxes) from:

New South Wales

Northern Territory

Queensland

Victoria

Western Australia.

Australia's rabies-free status has not changed as a result of the Australian bat lyssavirus discovery.

Health risk

Humans
Australian health authorities suggest lyssavirus poses a low public health risk.

However they strongly recommend that anyone scratched or bitten by a bat should immediately wash the affected area with soap and water and contact their local doctor.

Research at the United States' Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the vaccine for classical rabies can protect against lyssavirus.

A pre-exposure course of rabies vaccine should be taken by high-risk category people, such as:

bat carers
veterinarians
wildlife officers.

There is also a post-exposure treatment course for people bitten or scratched by a bat which is suspected of being infected.

Pets
The Commonwealth Department of Health advises that the risk of infection for pets bitten or exposed to a bat is very low.

The  Department of Health and Ageing also advises that the risk of transmission of bat lyssavirus from a dog or cat to a person is very low, although there is theoretical risk of transmission.

If your pet has contact with a bat, obtain advice from your state agriculture or health department, or read the information on bat lysssavirus in on the links shown to the right under Related Areas.

Source: CSIRO

Topics:  editors picks quarantine virus



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

EXPLAINER: How to grab bargain flight from Wellcamp Airport

"Chances are, when it's at that price, they've just paid for the last two seats on the flight."

She said once they were nabbed, the tickets could skyrocket.

Man hospitalised after air conditioning leak

Ambulance generic

Man taken to hospital after exposure to leaked refrigerant

Coffee with the regulars

CHERRY BLOSSOMS: (Front, from left) Holly and Hannah Clifford, (back) Bec Anderson and Janelle Schmidt.

Meet some of the crew from The Cherry Tree

Local Partners

15 things to do on the Southern Downs this weekend

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, here's some awesome ideas


Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Don't miss the free Bunnings Christmas party

Free Bunnings Christmas Family Night

WARWICK'S Bunnings Warehouse will come alive tonight for Xmas

Rose City unites in festive event

Erin and Keely Hilton.

Local performers entertain at Carols in the Park

Cruz Beckham's single a 'one-off'

He is not planning to launch a full-time music career yet.

Louis Tomlinson's mother dies aged 42

Louis Tomlinson's mother has died.

Star Wars spin off gets green light grom Lucas

Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen star in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Lucas said to have enjoyed the latest Star Wars spin-off

BOOK REVIEW: The Mask of Command

This narrative from Anicent Rome has it all

The tech-version of the old pop-up book is here

IS THE old cardboard pop-up book a thing of the past?

Obama's private struggle laid bare in film

Australian actor Devon Terrell portrays a young Barack Obama in the Netflix original movie Barry. Supplied by Netflix.

Filmakers focus in on Obama's legacy

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!