Health officials attend to a horse at the J4S Equine Nursery near Rockhampton on a previous Hendra scare.
Health officials attend to a horse at the J4S Equine Nursery near Rockhampton on a previous Hendra scare.

Hendra claims a third NSW horse

A THIRD horse has died from the Hendra virus on the North Coast, taking to nine the number of Hendra deaths in two states.

The latest horse to be euthanased after testing positive to the virus was a companion to the one which died from the virus a fortnight ago at Wollongbar on the same quarantined property.

It is the first possible case of horse-to-horse transmission in the recent outbreaks.

“Results of laboratory tests revealed the surviving horse, which was showing signs of illness for more than 24 hours, was carrying the Hendra virus,” NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said yesterday.

“The horse, which was buried this morning, was the only other horse on the quarantined property, and there are no other horses on neighbouring properties.

“It is believed that the horse became infected with Hendra virus following very close contact with the original infected horse.”

A horse died near Macksville from Hendra virus just three days after the first Wollongbar case on June 30.

Meanwhile a group of concerned NSW residents have begun an online petition at www.hendraawareness.com calling for greater funding and claiming governments outside of Queensland need to do more.

“This is not just a Queensland problem, it is a national public health issue and our governments are starving vital funding into the research work,” the letter reads.

Dr Roth said the second Wollongbar horse to die was buried yesterday morning after being euthanased.

He said there were no links between the Macksville case and the Wollongbar property, or the recent Hendra outbreaks in Queensland.

Dr Roth said the first round of testing on the companion horse at Macksville had been completed and results were negative.

“There are three rounds of testing in total – the second and third rounds will take place over the coming month,” he said.

“Samples have also been collected from the two other low-risk horses on the property and the results are pending.

“All the horses are being regularly monitored and remain in good health.”

Nine horses have now died from the Hendra virus in Queensland and NSW since late June, and more than 30 people who have had contact with the sick horses are being tested.

Authorities are still resisting calls for the movement of horses to be restricted, claiming it is unnecessary.



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