Hendra virus confirmed near Casino

hendra virus under the microscope

Hendra Virus

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) today quarantined a property near Casino in northern NSW following the death of one horse from Hendra Virus.

DPI Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Christine Middlemiss said the property has been placed in quarantine by the Local Land Services district veterinarian and the dead horse is being buried.

“The 22-year-old horse died recently following a period of illness and receiving treatment from a private veterinarian,” Dr Middlemiss said.

Samples from the horse were sent for laboratory analysis at DPI’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) and results from testing at EMAI and the Australian Animal Health Laboratory at Geelong confirmed the Hendra virus.

Dr Middlemiss said staff from the LLS, and NSW Health have been working with people who have handled the horse, including the property owners and the veterinarian. These people are being monitored by NSW Health.

“The horse had been in a paddock in an area which has regular flying fox activity,” Dr Middlemiss said.

The case is the first Hendra case in NSW in 2016.

NSW DPI encourages horse owners discuss a Hendra Virus vaccination strategy with their veterinarian.
“Vaccination remains the most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in Horses, but good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures should always be practiced in conjunction with it,” Dr Middlemiss said.

“Horses should also be kept away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. Do not place feed and water under trees and cover feed and water containers with a shelter so they cannot be contaminated from above.

“If a horse becomes sick, owners should contact their veterinarian immediately. People in contact with horses need to practice good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures even if a horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus.”

Horse owners and vets are encouraged to download the latest information on Hendra virus.