Whilst the Queensland Government continues to tout this deadly virus as 'rare', many would be blissfully unaware that of the 13 'recorded' cases to date, two occurred on adjoining properties, 12 months apart. The following map also shows a number of other mysterious deaths that the authorities have failed to thoroughly investigate as being linked to Hendra Virus.
(Click on map to view larger copy)
The first recorded case at Peachester was diagnosed by Dr Rebeka Day of the Range Vet Practice. The response she received from the authorities was so poor that through sheer persistence, and no alternative but to go to the media, the Minister ordered an 'Independent Review' of the case. This Review document was tabled in parliament, but was never published on the DPI Website.
It is in public domain and I have uploaded a copy; Independent review of an Equine Case of Hendra Virus Infection at Peachester, Report prepared for Director General DPI&F Biosecurity by AusVet Animal Health Services Pty Ltd (Nigel Perkins) 14th September 2006.
The review clearly documented the chronology of the case, the symptoms the horse displayed and that the DPI Vet did not believe that Hendra Virus was likely to be the cause when Dr Day spoke to them of her concerns on this suspect. They 'responded' because the PVP expressed concern over exposure... Page 51
Four recommendations were made in that Review, page 7.
The review clearly identified that the case DID NOT meet the criteria 'case definition', yet the changes subsequently made to the veterinary guidelines (Jan 2007) did not alter the criteria to accurately represent the virus.
No research was undertaken in the colony location at the time of this case, nor was any research undertaken at the time of the second outbreak on the adjoining property twelve months after this case. To my knowledge, to date there still has not been any research work done on this deadly location.
At the time of the 2008 outbreak, and documented in the second review conducted by Nigel Perkins of Ausvet, outdated URL links were on the departments website which enabled veterinarians to access the previous version of the veterinary guidelines.
Communications? The PVP that diagnosed the second Peachester case was from a different practice. Neither the neighbour (owner of the first case), nor the PVP involved in the first case and based in Peachester, were notified that there had been a second confirmed outbreak involving this colony. They had no knowledge of the second confirmed case until I told them in 2008 (at the time of the Redlands outbreak).
The DPI did not quarantine the property until 9 days AFTER the horse was dead and, confirmed Hendra positive!
The more restrictive criteria was to be favoured to reduce the 'attendant demands on resources and costs associated with investigation and response, including declaration of quarantine'.
So, using restrictive 'typical' symptoms reduces the troublesome burden of having to investigate / test suspect cases because the Guidelines allowed for this... Unfortunately it has also MISLED the entire population over how this virus has presented and exposed humans to this deadly virus thru lack of understanding how varied the cases have always presented. See page Case Presentation
An astute young veterinarian, in mixed practice, not a dedicated equine vet, diagnosed a live case of Hendra despite the guidelines being completely inadequate and after the Government spending $15732.49 (invoice here) on an Independent Review of the case, they tightened up the restrictive criteria to make it more difficult.