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Minimising risk

 

Vaccination is the single most effective way to reduce the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses and Biosecurity Queensland encourages horse owners to have their horses vaccinated.

DAFF, Queensland Government, 20133

  • Ensure all horses are fully vaccinated against the Hendra virus and follow recommended Hendra vaccination protocols.
  • Protect the horses’ feed and water from contamination by flying foxes, such as placing them under a shelter and/or away from trees.
  • Remove horses from paddocks where flowering or fruiting trees are attracting flying foxes. Only return horses to these paddocks once the trees have stopped flowering/fruiting and the flying foxes have gone. Make sure to clean up any remaining fruit lying on the ground before returning the horses.1
  • If removing horses from the paddock is not an option, consider fencing off the area where the trees are present. Alternatively, consider temporarily removing the horses from their paddocks at dusk and during the night, when flying fox activity is at its peak.1
  • Isolate sick horses from other horses, animals and people.
  • Ensure strict hygiene and cleaning practices are used on your property when handling horses. That includes making sure gear exposed to body fluids from a horse is cleaned and disinfected before it is used on another horse. (e.g. halters, lead ropes). Ask your veterinarian about the types of disinfectants you can use.1
  • Wear gloves when you are cleaning equipment that has been used on a sick horse and wash your hands afterwards.1
  • Wear approved protective equipment if Hendra virus is a potential diagnosis for any sick horses on your property.2

Even though the majority of cases tend to occur in the cooler months between July and September...Hendra virus infection can occur throughout the year. It is therefore important for horse owners to take steps to protect themselves and their animals year round.

DAFF, Queensland Government, 20133

There are currently no known treatments for Hendra virus in horses or humans. Ask your vet about protection with the Hendra horse vaccine Equivac® HeV.


References:

 

  1. Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. New information on the Hendra virus vaccine available. News release 13 May 2013. Available at:http://www.daff.qld.gov.au (Accessed 02/07/13).
  2. State of Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. Guidelines for veterinarians handling potential Hendra virus infection in horses: version 4.2, December 2011.
  3. Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. New Hendra virus case confirmed near Mackay. News release 23 January 2013. Available at:http://www.daff.qld.gov.au (Accessed 02/07/13).