Community News

Third Hendra case confirmed near Lismore

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) continues to remind horse owners to be vigilant, following another confirmed Hendra case in an unvaccinated horse on the North Coast. The horse was euthanised and buried at the property near Lismore on Saturday. This is the third case of the deadly infection in unvaccinated horses in less than four weeks. NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss, said samples from the horse were sent for laboratory analysis to DPI’s Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) and testing confirmed the Hendra virus infection late yesterday. “The 12 year old Welsh Pony mare was noticed to be unusually quiet and disorientated by its owners on August 3. A private veterinarian took samples from the horse on August 4 where it wasalso found to be suffering fever, increased respiration, poor circulation and grinding its teeth,” Dr Middlemiss said. “Another horse and two dogs in contact with the infected horse are also being monitored. “The property is now under movement restrictions by north coast Local Land Services. “All known Hendra virus cases have occurred in Queensland or northern NSW, but cases could occur wherever there are flying foxes or in horses that had recent contact with flying foxes prior to movement.” As part of the new NSW Biosecurity Act all members of the community have a general biosecurity duty to consider how actions could have a negative impact on another person, business, animal or the environment. All horse owners should discuss a Hendra virus vaccination strategy with their veterinarian. “Vaccination remains the most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in Horses, but good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures should always be practiced in conjunction with it,” Dr Middlemiss said. “Horses should also be kept away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. Do not place feed and water under trees and cover feed and water containers with a shelter so they cannot be contaminated from above.” If your horse is unwell, keep people and other animals away from the horse and call your private veterinarian immediately. If your vet is unavailable you can call a District Veterinarian with the Local Land Services or the Animal Biosecurity Emergency Hotline on 1800 675 888. For more information about Hendra, visit DPI’s website.