Risk of Hendra virus infection when involved in the rescue of horses

Hendra Virus

Hendra Virus

Hendra virus can infect both animals and humans and can cause death.

A common Hendra virus infection symptom in horses is disorientation. Disoriented horses may become caught in fences or stuck in a dam or creek and be mistaken for trauma cases requiring rescue.

People asked to rescue horses should be aware that these animals may be suffering from Hendra virus, especially if the horse is in or has recently moved from an area where flying foxes are common.

People who are rescuing horses should:

Keep children and all other animals away from the site.

Minimise the number of personnel involved in the rescue.

Call a veterinarian to assess the horse and if required take samples to exclude Hendra virus (samples can be collected from dead animals).

Ensure that any person who is within 5m of the horse or its body fluids uses appropriate PPE as per the procedure Hendra Virus- personal protective equipment (PPE) and decontamination procedures for property owners which can be found on the NSW DPI website

If appropriate PPE is not available, do not approach the horse.

More information

For further information regarding managing the risk of Hendra virus when rescuing horses please contact Paul Freeman, Senior Veterinary Officer on 02 6626 1214 or paul.freeman@dpi.nsw.gov.au

General information on Hendra can be found on the NSW DPI website

Hendra factsheet

To report a suspected Hendra case, please call your local vet immediately. If unavailable ring the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Source: NSW Department of Primary Industries

Read more about Hendra & Horses