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Hendra Virus confirmed

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has confirmed Hendra virus as the cause of death of a horse near Lismore on the NSW north coast.

DPI Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said the dead horse has been buried and the property will be placed in quarantine.

“The 8 year old gelding was observed to be unwell on Wednesday and was off its food, before it collapsed,” Mr Roth said.

“A private vet collected samples for formal analysis, and the horse was euthanised yesterday.

“Laboratory tests at Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Unit (EMAI) have confirmed the Hendra virus in the horse.

“Staff from Local Land Services are working closely with the property owners and closely monitoring a second horse on the property. DPI can confirm there have been no movements off the property in the last 10 days.”

NSW Health has been informed and will be following up with the attending vet and owner.

DPI has confirmed the horse had not been vaccinated for Hendra virus. This is the second Hendra case in NSW this year, following another one at Murwillumbah in June.

NSW DPI has been encouraging horse owners to see their veterinarians and work out their vaccination strategy against Hendra virus.

“The colder months are usually the time of year when horses have become infected with Hendra in NSW in the past, however, it’s important to note that Hendra virus can be seen at any time of year,” Mr Roth said.

“Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses.”

Mr Roth said people in contact with horses need to practice good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures even if a horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus.

“Horses should be kept away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats,” Mr Roth said.

“Do not place feed and water under trees and cover feed and water containers with a shelter so they cannot be contaminated from above.

“People should avoid touching sick horses but if they need to come into direct contact ensure they are wearing gloves and a protective mask and avoid any contact with secretions from the animal.”

Horse owners and vets are encouraged to download the latest information on Hendra virus from the DPI website and if a horse becomes sick, owners should contact their vet immediately.

Information courtesy of NSW Department of Primary Industries – www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

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