Hendra death in Lismore

LOCAL horse trainers are in shock after hearing that a horse from Lismore died from the Hendra virus on Thursday – marking the 10th death from the virus across two states and the fourth on the North Coast.

The horse is reported to have died suddenly in a paddock containing a fig tree on a property near Lismore on Thursday with blood tests taken that evening confirming the Hendra Virus said the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) yesterday.

The property has been placed in quarantine and the dead horse has been buried said NSW chief veterinary officer Dr Ian Roth.

“There is one other horse on the quarantined property which is currently showing no signs of illness,” he said.

In the past month one horse has died from the virus at Macksville and another two have died on a Wollongbar property.

However, Dr Roth said the Lismore death had no links to the Wollongbar or Macksville properties or the recent Hendra outbreaks in Queensland.

The latest outbreak of the deadly virus, which can spread from flying foxes to horses and, rarely, to humans, has sent shockwaves through the local horse racing and equine industry.

“It’s getting a bit scary,” Ballina trainer, Danny Bowen told The Northern Star yesterday.

“It’s devastating. We wouldn’t want to see it get into Ballina – there are over 200 horses in a small vicinity along Racecourse Road.

“But, what can you do? There’s millions of bats flying over us every afternoon. We’ve got to stay positive.”

The Lismore death was very concerning said Ballina Jockey Club chief executive Sarah Wills yesterday.

“It’s extremely disturbing and a concern to everyone in the industry” she said.

“It’s a particular concern for us because there are so many flying foxes in the Northern Rivers.”

Ms Wills said the club and trainers would continue to watch for developments in the Hendra outbreak and take directions from Racing NSW, but said next Friday’s Ballina Bracelet would go ahead as planned – dependant on the weather.

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