Hendra warning issued by racing authority

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The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries has advised that the deadly Hendra virus has been confirmed in a horse at a property near Australia’s horse capital of Scone, the most southern location the infection has been detected in Australia.

A statement released by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) today, Friday 14 June, says an unvaccinated mare on a Hunter Valley property developed neurological signs on Friday 7 June three days after being confined to a yard.

“It was euthanased by the owners after becoming unresponsive,” the QRIC statement says.

“The (NSW) Department said that because the horse was not vaccinated and had a sudden onset of neurological signs, the owners contacted the animal diseases hotline.

“A veterinarian from Hunter Local Lands Services visited the property on Sunday, 9 June to collect samples for testing and the Hendra infection, which is deadly to both horses and humans, was confirmed on Wednesday 12 June.

“The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Director of Animal Welfare and Veterinary Services Dr Martin Lenz reminds all racehorse participants to follow good biosecurity practices and for trainers and owners to speak to their vet about vaccinating the horses in their care against Hendra virus to protect their horses and staff from this deadly disease.

“Vaccination remains the single-most effective prevention method,” Dr Lenz said.

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