Hendra strikes at Nerimbera

UPDATE: QUEENSLAND Health Capricorn Vet Surgery's Dr Neil Farmer and two others who were in contact with the horse that died on the Nerimbera property have been deemed as having "low-level exposure" to hendra virus.

 

Queensland Health public experts also deemed seven people at a separate outbreak near Ingham as having low-level exposure.   They have elected to be tested, but the Rockhampton residents have not as of yet.   A Queensland Health spokesperson said testing was not mandatory as the exposure was only of a low level.    

JOHN Brady, owner of the Cawarral property quarantined in 2009 after the hendra virus struck down several of his horses, offered his sympathies to the victims of the region's latest outbreak.

Mr Brady wished the owners of the Nerimbera property, cordoned off by Biosecurity Queensland, "the very, very best".

"I know they are going to be in for a nightmare," he said.

Tests received late Tuesday night confirmed the horse that died on the property on Saturday was infected by the deadly virus.

The animal was believed to have been a child's pony.

The two people who have been in contact with the infected horses were assessed by Queensland Health public experts.

Tragically, Alister Rodgers, the vet who treated Mr Brady's infected horses, died after he contracted the disease in 2009.

Queensland Health CEO Dr Jeannette Young, speaking at an emergency press conference called in Brisbane on Wednesday said experts would determine if anyone required testing from this latest Rockhampton incident.

Residents of the Nerimbera property chose not to comment on their own welfare on Wednesday.

"We really have nothing to say," they said. "We're still waiting for Biosecurity and everyone."

Member for Keppel Bruce Young said he and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh spoke with the residents on Wednesday.

Mr Young said they were very stressed, but the Newman Government would be proactive in assisting them.

The other horses on the property will be assessed over June.

Another horse died on Monday in a separate outbreak on a property near Ingham, north of Mackay. Five other horses on the property will have to be checked for the virus.

Queensland chief veterinary officer Dr Rick Symons said Biosecurity Queensland would test and monitor the other horses at the two properties over the next month.

Capricorn Vet Surgery attended to the infected horse at the Rockhampton property when it became ill.

 

HENDRA VIRUS

What: Hendra virus is associated with the rapid onset of illness, fever, increased heart rate and rapid deterioration in horses.

How: It can be transmitted from flying fox to horse, horse to horse, and horse to human. Humans can be infected by close contact with mucus or blood from an infected horse.

For more info call a vet or Biosecurity Queensland on 132 523

REDUCING THE RISK

  • Do not keep horse feed and water containers under trees
  • Remove horses from paddocks where flower or fruit trees that attract flying foxes grow
  • Isolate infected horses from other horses, people and animals while waiting for a vet's opinion
  • Avoid close contact with the horse or use personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses, masks and gloves


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