Hendra virus claims ninth horse

A NEW case of the deadly Hendra virus has been confirmed in northern New South Wales with the death of a second horse on a Wollongbar property.

The horse was a companion horse to the one that died at Wollongbar about two weeks ago.

That case was the first in NSW in about six years and only the second ever recorded south of the Queensland border.

However, another horse at Macksville, near Coffs Harbour, has died since then, making today’s confirmation the third in NSW in only a fortnight.

NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said the horse was showing signs of the virus for about 24 hours before laboratory tests confirmed its presence yesterday.

“The horse, which was buried this morning, was the only other horse on the quarantined Wollongbar property – and there a no horses on neighbouring properties,” he said.

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

“There have now been three horses die from Hendra virus in NSW in the past fortnight – two at Wollongbar and one near Macksville.”

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

More information on Hendra virus is available at www.agriculture.nsw.gov.au/info/hendra.

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