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New Hendra outbreak in Queensland

Biosecurity Queensland is managing another case of Hendra virus infection, after test results on a deceased horse came back positive for the virus.

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Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Rick Symons, said a private vet last week reported a suspected case on a property outside Bowen in north Queensland to Biosecurity Queensland after attending a sick horse on the property.

“The vet attended the horse over several days last week and samples were taken and forwarded to Brisbane for testing,” Dr Symons said in a statement.

The horse was euthanased on Thursday.

Control procedures were put into place when the sample results came back positive on Tuesday night, Dr Symons said.

“There is one other horse on the property, which is healthy,” he said. “A third horse on the same property died one month ago but we do not have any samples to test.

“The property is under quarantine.”

The resident of the property has been informed of the test results.

Vets ‘wearing protective clothing’

Dr Symons said there were a number of horses on an adjoining property and Biosecurity Queensland officers were working with the owner to assess if they had been exposed to the horse that died most recently.

“Staff will also speak to a small number of residents in the immediate area today and provide the latest information about Hendra virus,” he said.

It is the 13th known incident of Hendra virus infection since 1994.

Rockhampton vet Alister Rodgers died this month after catching the virus from an infected horse he treated near Rockhampton on July 28.

Dr Symons said it was understood the vets who attended the Bowen horse had been wearing appropriate protective clothing.

“Following the recent tragic events surrounding the Hendra outbreak at Cawarral near Rockhampton, there is a greater awareness amongst vets and horse owners of the risks associated with Hendra virus,” he said.

“We encourage vets, horse owners and the community to be vigilant and report any suspected cases of Hendra virus to Biosecurity Queensland and, most importantly, to take appropriate precautions when handling any sick horse.”