Site Published:  16th April 2010
Last updated:   18th April 2010
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July 2011 - News
Page added:   18th April 2010
Updated:   4th November 2011
NSW Department of Primary Industries veterinarians today confirmed Hendra virus as the cause of death of one horse yesterday near Wollongbar on the NSW North Coast. “The property has been placed in quarantine and the dead horse has been buried,” NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said. “The horse was suffering from fever when examined by a private veterinarian on Tuesday this week. “Following a rapid deterioration in the horse’s condition on Wednesday, the veterinarian
euthanised the horse at 1am yesterday.”

Read more here>
Another Hendra outbreak has been confirmed this evening in Northern NSW
Update - 1st July 2011
Health officials revealed on Saturday that another seven people may have been exposed to the virus as authorities faced a second possible outbreak of the deadly disease carried by bats in southeast Queensland and conveyed to humans via infected horses. Read more here>
Update - 2nd July 2011
Hendra virus spreads to Logan - July 5, 2011 - 2:07PM
Several properties on Brisbane’s southern outskirts could be quarantined following another suspected Hendra virus case in southeast Queensland.  Biosecurity Queensland announced today it believed the death of a horse at Park Ridge in Logan City overnight was the result of the lethal Hendra virus, which in rare cases can spread to humans.

Queensland chief vet Rick Symons said test results due today would confirm if Hendra virus was the cause.  Two people – the horse’s owner and a vet who treated it – may have been in contact with the horse and will undergo testing.   Dr Symons said the horse died quickly.  “It was unbalanced, could not walk. It had a swollen face,’’ he told reporters.  Dr Symons said two test samples from the horse had produced conflicting results.  ‘‘There were two samples taken. One showed a negative result, the other was positive,’’ he said.
Read more here>
Update - 5th July 2011
A fifth outbreak has been announced today, this one further south in NSW, bringing the total of 5 confirmed separate outbreaks in two weeks.  Three in Queensland and two in NSW.

Hendra virus continues to move south with a fifth outbreak of the virus confirmed at Macksville on NSW mid-north coast 
Read more here>

CONTRARY to what the Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer is saying in the media:

He said there was the potential for more cases amid a threefold rise in the prevalence of the virus in samples taken from the local flying fox colony. About 30 per cent of the samples tested positive, compared with about 10 per cent in previous outbreaks.  The Australian

If you read the pathology reports for sampling that was done on the Cedar Grove Colony in 2009 on this page you'll find that of 36 samples collected on the 28th September 09, 12 positives were found, making a 33 percent prevalence in that colony on that particular day.   I believe it is important to state facts.  This year is no different to any other year where at any given day of any week of the year, the risk of Hendra virus infection is very real.  As more people become aware and more testing is done, the true extend of this deadly virus will surface.  It is important that all horse owners, handlers and veterinarians are vigilant and take all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of exposure from sick animals.  For links to all relevant websites to find information for vets and horse owners please see the Links Page

Further updates to pages on this website will be done soon.
As Awareness is raised to this deadly virus more and more cases are being detected where they may previously have been dismissed as colic or snake bite...
Update - 7th July 2011
The companion horse on the property quarantined in the Wollongbar area was euthanased on 12 July 2011, after laboratory testing at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory confirmed that it was infected with Hendra virus. It was noticed to be off its food on 10 July 2011 and became more depressed, showing signs consistent with Hendra virus infection including: shifting weight, fever, increased heart and respiration rates. It is believed that this horse became infected with Hendra following very close contact with the original infected horse.
Second horse infected at Wollongbar
Update - 13th July 2011
The APVMA is aware of the Hendra vaccine development project for horses. The APVMA has yet to receive an application to assess and authorise the supply and use of such a vaccine in horses in Australia.

Should a vaccine be developed to the point where it can be supplied for use, application can be made to the APVMA for a permit or product registration.  Read more here>
Requirements for the authorisation of Hendra Virus vaccine in horses
Update - 8th July 2011
Positive Hendra virus case in North Queensland - Biosecurity Queensland is managing a case of Hendra virus infection near Cairns after test results on a deceased horse came back positive for the virus.  A private veterinarian attended the sick horse over the weekend.  The veterinarian reported clinical signs of ataxia, depression, disorientation, neck muscle fasciculation and recumbency. The veterinarian also reported that the horse had a body temperature of 37.8°C and displayed a rapid deterioration overnight.
The affected property will be quarantined to restrict the movement of horses on and off. Tracing will be a priority to determine what contact the deceased horse had with other animals on the property.
The 'rare' has well and truly lost its punch, the SIXTH confirmed outbreak in three weeks. 
Update - 12th July 2011
Update - 16th July 2011
Two more separate outbreaks confirmed today  -  Biosecurity Alert
For links to official updates, latest advice from authorities, websites and other useful reading please visit the Links Page Here  

Management of Hendra cases does not involve widespread lockdown of the horse industry, only properties confirmed to have been infected or in dangerous contact are placed under quarantine.
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Hendra is so virulent that, of seven humans known to have contracted it from infected horses in the past, four have died.

Vet Peter Reid, who was involved in the first hendra outbreak in 1994, which killed Queensland horse trainer Vic Rail, says his gut feeling is that the virus is becoming more contagious.

"We know it's one of the worst viruses in the world. It's what they call a category C virus in the United States for its potential use as a bioterrorism thing so it's really nasty," he told the ABC. "We don't know where it's going to crop up again. It can crop up in NSW, it can crop up in Victoria, the Northern Territory, and the top of Western Australia."
Herald Sun Read More>
It's batty not to cleanse this scourge : Miranda Devine : Sunday Herald Sun
Update - 17th July 2011
Update - 17th July 2011
Tests have confirmed that a horse that died in northern New South Wales last week was suffering from the hendra virus. 
The horse died suddenly at a property at Lismore on Thursday.
Read More NSW DPI Media Release>
Officials confirm more cases of Hendra virus at Boondall and Hervey Bay - Courier Mail

As the toll continues to rise and details come to hand, further updates will be included here and on the page Sick Horses - How do the really present?
Update - 20th July 2011
Government won't compensate vets for protective clothing
The Queensland Government has ruled out compensating vets for protective clothing during potentially deadly hendra virus outbreaks.  Read more>

Malaysia bans horse import from Australia
PETALING JAYA, Kuala Lumpur - The Veterinary Services Department has banned the import of horses from Australia as a precautionary measure following the outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus in that country.  Read more>

Craiglea Stud cuts down 50 fruit trees as Hendra virus fears deepen
A QUEENSLAND horse stud caught in a terrifying lockdown when the deadly Hendra virus emerged in 1994 is not taking any chances.

Craiglea Stud at Kenilworth in the Sunshine Coast hinterland was quarantined for a month after prominent trainer Vic Rail sent two horses there.

One died, the other was put down and property owner Stan Johnston and his staff lived in fear of the disease that later claimed Rail's life.

Mr Johnston this week ripped out 50 fruit trees to make sure there was no food source for the flying foxes known to carry the virus. Read more>

State must act on Hendra virus
MARBURG horse breeder Peter Toft has called for more of a State Government commitment to get to the bottom of the increase of Hendra virus in horses.
In the interim, Mr Anthony said keeping horses away from bats was essential. He also backed the need for more government backing into why the virus was so prevalent.

“In the meantime it is all about personal biosecurity and altering your property design so that your horses are not directly grazing, feeding and drinking in areas where bats roost and feed. The suggestion at this stage is that the horses are ingesting the body fluids of the bats.

“Last year when bats were tested, 10 per cent of them had live virus but this year we are finding that 30 per cent have live virus.

“It is scary. There is a perception out there that only veterinarians can contract Hendra virus and die from this disease, but that is not the case. There are kids riding at pony club level and families at riding clubs and professional stables. I think everybody is at risk while this disease is not managed. A lot of work needs to be done on how transmission is occurring.” Read more>
What is scary is the fact that the Queensland CVO for Biosecurity Queensland chose to mislead the entire population about a so called three fold increase in virus circulating, based purely on one random sampling at one colony location.  Scroll down or click here to see details as to how misleading that was to report.

Misinformation is how people have lost their lives, and despite our calls for veterinarians and horse owners to be advised of accurate, timely information, it was again pointed out to the Department and on Monday the CVO now acknowledges:

'Raised awareness' behind Hendra peak
Sarah Elks, Rosanne Barrett - July 18, 2011
As three more horses succumbed to the disease and four more properties in southeast Queensland and in NSW were quarantined at the weekend, Rick Symons said it was "extremely unusual" for so many cases to occur in such a short period of time.
"It could be because of a heightened awareness of Hendra virus which is resulting in the high number of samples we are currently receiving for testing -- up to five times as many samples . . . as we normally would," Dr Symons said.  Read more>

Update - 22nd July 2011
Another horse has today be confirmed positive to Hendra
Biosecurity Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said the horse died on 28 June at a property in the Logan Area.
“Initial test results from samples taken from the horse were negative for Hendra virus. Samples were then sent to AAHL for further testing for a cause of death.
“AAHL conducted a series of further tests and found that the horse had antibodies to Hendra virus.
“This further testing showed the horse had extremely low levels of Hendra virus in its blood at the time it was sampled. This, together with the level of antibodies, suggests that the horse may have had a previous Hendra virus infection and had developed some antibodies.”
Read more>

Hendra virus scientists push for vaccine to be fast-tracked
by Kelmeny Fraser  | The Sunday Mail (qld) | July 24, 2011

AAHL officials met with drug regulators the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority last last week to open a "strong dialogue" for an equine Hendra vaccine to be fast-tracked. Without speeding up the approval process it would not be available until 2013.

Read more>
Update - 24th July 2011
Update - 24th July 2011
Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed a Hendra virus case on a property in the Chinchilla area.
Queensland Chief Biosecurity Officer Dr Jim Thompson said Biosecurity Queensland officers were on site quarantining the property.
"The infected horse had shown rapid onset of illness that was typical of Hendra virus and died in the care of a private practitioner on Friday.” Dr Thompson said.
"We understand there are four other horses on the property but full tracing is also being undertaken to locate any other horses that may have been in contact with the infected horse.
Update - 27th July 2011
Hendra Virus: Horse to dog Stakes surrounding the state’s Hendra concerns have been raised again with the virus found in a dog living on a property where horses had also tested positive. Last week we spoke with Barcaldine resident Brett Walsh who had a dog put down after it ate a bat lying dead on the ground; this is what Kerrin Parry-Jones from the  school of biological sciences from the University of Sydney said at the time that dog that Hendra could not be transmitted from horses to dogs.

Listen to Greg Cary 4BC speak with Brett Walsh about the findings yesterday of a dog now confirmed with Hendra virus on a Mt Alford property.  Followed by an interview with myself.  Click here to go to 4BC Website
Hendra dog case sparks crisis meeting Chief veterinarians, health officers and scientists from Queensland and New South Wales will hold a crisis meeting in Brisbane today to discuss the deadly hendra virus's appearance in a dog near Brisbane.

The dog on a property at Mount Alford, south of Brisbane, has tested positive to the disease. 
Read more>
Hendra virus at Mullumbimby
The State Virology Laboratory at EMAI confirmed on 27 July 2011 that samples submitted from a dead mare at Mullumbimby were positive for Hendra virus. The samples were collected on 26 July by a private
vet from a horse that had died suddenly on 24 July. There was a large fig tree in the paddock in which the dead horse was found.   There are 8 remaining horses on the property. Tracing and assessments of the horses and companion animals that may have been exposed are still being completed.
Read more>

Hendra virus: maybe blame lies beyond fruit bats
by Crikey naturalist Lionel Elmore
If fruit bats have always carried this disease, why was the first recorded outbreak in 1994? It is possible the deaths have gone undiagnosed? Have the fruit bats become more infectious for some reason? The macadamia industry has also recently been in the news for its use of agricultural chemicals that have been blamed for fish deformities in the Noosa River — could these chemicals impact fruit bats.

Another factor not yet considered is the secondary impact of agricultural chemicals recommended for use by state agriculture departments and declared safe to use, if the instructions on labels are followed, by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA). However, it is very hard to keep chemicals out of waterways, for instance; in a wet year and we may need to pay more for our nuts if we want them without chemicals used to grow them. Read more>

Update - 28th July 2011
NSW Racing now recognise Hendra is not just a Queensland problem
Racing NSW has released details of a Hendra risk assessment it conducted at its 126 racetracks and training grounds.  The chief executive of Racing NSW, Peter V'landys, said between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of tracks, including Randwick Racecourse, had fruit bats somewhere on the course.
Read more>

Gillard Government kicks in Six Million funding to help combat Hendra
The Gillard Government today announced it will be providing up to $6 million as part of the fight against Hendra.   This funding comes on top of the earlier announcement this week of $3 million from the Queensland and $3 million from NSW Governments over the next 3 years. This initiative is on top of work being done by Australia’s premier science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.  The CSIRO is devoting around $6 million this year to Hendra-related research, including work on improved diagnostic tests, disease pathogenesis, and the development of a Hendra vaccine for horses.  
Read more>

Update - 29th July 2011
The news reports of the fruit bat problems may conjure up images of lush tropical sunny Queensland, with tropical fruits and palms being the main attraction and risk factors, along with the NSW reports of a fig tree in each of the paddocks where the recent 4 separate outbreaks have occurred this month, may lull horse owners into thinking they are safe.   The first confirmed Hendra outbreak west of the great dividing range in Chinchilla last week clearly highlights this is neither a tropical or coastal problem alone.

The horse owner and locals reported they had not seen or heard any bats in the area.  One local resident informed me that there had been a large colony camped at the weir two years ago but has not been seen since.    Further reports and investigation revealed a very small group of approximately 50-70 flying foxes are camped in a residential backyard about 450 meters from the paddock where the horse contracted and died from the virus.

To view details of average minimum temperatures for the week ending 19th July 2011 - Click on map to go to BOM site

To view photo gallery click on images
Photos Copyright  A.Scott
For those who may still think this is a Queensland and Northern NSW problem
4 Horses remain in quarantine
4 Horses remain in quarantine
No fruiting or flowing trees evident at time of confirmed outbreak
Hendra Chinchilla 032
Flying foxes appox 450m from Hendra confirmed horse death
Flying foxes appox 450m from Hendra confirmed horse death
Bats Appox 450m from confirmed HeV horse death
Hendra Chinchilla 079
You do not need 10's of thousands of bats in your paddock or surrounding area, as shown here, a very small group of flying foxes (50-70) may be all it takes

Owners on the Mt Alford property also reported having not seen any flying fox activity on the property in recent years.
Update - 30th July 2011
Queensland's chief vet contradicts Premier Anna Bligh on effect of dispersal of bat colonies on spread of Hendra virus - QUEENSLAND'S chief vet has contradicted Premier Anna Bligh, revealing there is no direct scientific research linking the dispersal of bat colonies to the spread of Hendra virus.It comes after Ms Bligh spent the week dismissing moving on bats as too dangerous amid growing community concern over the spread of the virus.
Read more>
Hendra virus laboratory under fire for refusing to accept sample on a weekend AUTHORITIES have been accused of not taking the Hendra virus threat seriously enough after refusing to accept a sample for testing because it was a weekend.   A worried horse owner spent almost two hours waiting outside a Biosecurity Queensland laboratory yesterday morning with a sample from a horse that died overnight after being told it could not be accepted because it was outside operating hours.
Read more>
Update - 31st July 2011