July 9, 2013
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has today confirmed Hendra virus as the cause of death of one horse on a second Macksville property.
NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said the property has been quarantined and the DPI, Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) and NSW Health are working closely with the property owners.
“Samples from the six year old gelding were sent to DPI’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute and results confirmed last night,” Mr Roth said.
“Two other horses from the property, three dogs and two cats will be closely monitored by NSW biosecurity experts.
“An LHPA veterinarian is taking samples of the remaining horses and the companion animals. The remaining horses will be vaccinated against Hendra.
“This case is not connected to the previous Hendra case in Macksville last month.”
Mr Roth said this is the second Hendra case this year and is a timely reminder that horse owners should speak with their private veterinarian about vaccinating their horse against the Hendra virus.
“Hendra virus can spread from flying foxes to horses and, rarely, from horses to people,” Mr Roth said.
“Hendra virus can cause a range of clinical signs in horses. Some of the more common symptoms that are seen are an acute onset of fever and rapid progression to death associated with either respiratory or neurological signs.
“Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses.”
Hendra virus is a notifiable disease – if you suspect the presence of this disease in horses, you must report it. Call Emergency Disease Watch Hotline – 1800 675 888 FREE.
DPI advises horse owners to take precautions in areas with flying foxes – to reduce the risk of their horses becoming infected:
– Talk with your private veterinarian about vaccinating your horse.
– Place feed and water containers under cover.
– Do not place feed and water under trees, especially trees with fruit.
– Do not use feed that could attract flying foxes, such as apples, carrots, or molasses.
– Remove horses from paddocks where fruiting or flowering trees have temporarily attracted flying foxes.
– If it is not possible to remove the horse from the paddock, tape off the area under the tree.
More information on the Hendra virus is available at: www.agriculture.nsw.gov.au/info/hendra
NSW Health advises people to always take the following steps to reduce the risk of becoming infected with Hendra virus:
– Cover any cuts or abrasions on exposed skin before handling horses and wash your hands well with soap and water, especially after handling your horse’s mouth or nose (e.g. fitting or removing a bridle) and before eating, smoking or touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
– Don’t kiss horses on the muzzle (especially not if the horse is sick).
– Use personal protective equipment to protect yourself from the body fluids of horses.
NSW Health Hendra virus Factsheet can be on the NSW Health website: