Recent Hendra Scare in Brookfield Fuels Cry to Have All Horses Vaccinated Against the Virus

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The recent Brookfield Show was a success, hampered only by the incidence, albeit well-handled, of a horse that was suspected to be carrying the Hendra virus. Thankfully, a test conducted by Biosecurity Queensland came back negative.

In another case, an infected pony in the Gold Coast hinterland had to be euthanised. These recent events have prompted The Australian Veterinary Association to pursue the administration of the Hendra vaccine for all horses.

In 1994, an outbreak which affected 21 racehorses and two human cases in a Brisbane suburb became the first recognised outbreak in Australia. Since then and up to 2016, over 70 horses have been reported to be carrying the virus.

Presently considered rare, Hendra is classified to have a severe and often fatal effect on horses and humans. Despite its relative rarity, it is considered a cause for alarm as the number of infected horses seems to be growing over the years. Because of this, an effective horse vaccine against the virus was introduced in 2012.

The AVA urges owners to have their horses vaccinated, particularly those who live in high-risk areas. They said that this is the only way to guarantee good health quality of horses whilst protecting humans from contracting the deadly virus as well.

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The virus occurs naturally in flying fox populations. According to a recent AVA study, the virus can be passed on to horses through the bats’ urine; in turn, humans can acquire the virus from horses.

For the drive against Hendra, prevention is definitely better than cure. Vaccination is widely regarded to be the best way to prevent an outbreak, as testing for the virus or disease could take a long time. Some small comfort can also be derived from recent reports of a decline in the flying fox population in Queensland.

Read also: 2017 Brookfield Show: Scary Weather Forecasts, Equine Flu Scare But the Show Was As Good As Ever