Hendra virus a rare disease: DPI

THE Hendra virus is still a rare infection, a packed information session was told at the Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute last night.

About 100 concerned horse owners turned up to hear the Department of Primary Industries regional veterinary officer, Paul Freeman, and the North Coast Public Health Unit's acting director, Greg Bell, talk about the risks and necessary precautions required following the death of a horse from the Hendra virus at Wollongbar last week.

Officials described it as a separate and isolated incident unrelated to outbreaks in Queensland and only 17 incidents had been recorded since 1994 and only one of those was in NSW – though three had occurred in recent weeks.

The nine people who had contact with the horse in the days before its death are being closely monitored by authorities.

Mr Bell told the audience that there were no restrictions to horse movements and owners had no reasons to fear horse meetings or events. Officials said that while there had been no change in the virus, they had identified a dramatic increase in the shedding of the virus by flying foxes.

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