Dr Chris Reardon says personal hygiene is the key to fending off the Hendra virus.
Dr Chris Reardon says personal hygiene is the key to fending off the Hendra virus. Shannon Newley

Be alert but not alarmed: vet

LOCAL vet Dr Chris Reardon has called for people to be alert but not alarmed as a third horse was put down yesterday afternoon after being diagnosed with the Hendra virus.

Mr Reardon said horse owners were concerned and he was trying to allay their fears while encouraging them to remain vigilant.

But he said, unlike the Equine Influenza (EI), which shut down the industry in 2008, horse racing, polocrosse and other horse related sports were safe.

“It won’t shut down racing, the properties involved are all quarantined and it doesn’t spread in the same way as EI,” he said.

“In the past, people who have gotten the virus have had high exposure to horse bodily fluids.”

While he said people shouldn’t be scared, they also shouldn’t dismiss the threat of the virus.

“People have to remain aware of the signs, if they are not sure they should contact their vet and reassess their hygiene,” he said.

“The key to controlling Hendra could be personal hygiene.”

President of the Cunningham Polocrosse Club Bill Kerr said he was concerned but didn’t think the disease would have any bearing in the sport.

“At this point in time I don’t think it will,” he said.

“All we can do from our point of view is take note of the symptoms and look out for them and make sure we report anything.”

Mr Kerr said with two major polocrosse events next year – the National Titles and the Queensland Cup – he hoped the disease would not make it to the area.

“I hope they keep it on that side of the range,” he said.

“I sincerely hope that we don’t get it in this area, I hope that people are astute.”

He said Biosecurity Queensland had been keeping them and other horse industry personnel in the loop.

“There was a briefing about the Hendra virus at the zone titles, they are keeping us well informed which is really good,” he said.

He said he was worried about horses travelling but trusted the government was in control of the situation.

“Especially with horses moving around and just after the weekend,” he said.

As the Daily News went to print last night, three properties near Beaudesert and Boonah were quarantined and fours cases of the Hendra virus in horses had been verified.

Up-to-date information on Hendra virus is available at www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au.



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