Passed from flying foxes to horses, and then from horses to humans, dogs, and potentially other animals, this virus has caused four human deaths and more than 80 confirmed horse deaths since 1994. Two dogs on quarantined properties have also tested positive to the virus, and were subsequently euthanased in accordance with national biosecurity policy.
More info on the vaccine:
- Media release from Pfizer (PDF file): “Vaccine arrives to boost the fight against deadly Hendra virus”
- The Conversation: “How we developed the Hendra virus vaccine for horses”
- Unfortunately false rumours and misinformation about the vaccine have been spread widely, check out “Myth Busting the Hendra Vaccine” (PDF file) for straightforward answers to some frequently asked questions and concerns.
Video series: Watch “Hendra Virus – A Safer Tomorrow” on Youtube. First video here.
For the latest updates:
- “Hendra Virus” page by Biosecurity Qld (Qld Government Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry) – information on latest outbreaks, background, research, guidelines for vets, guidelines for holding equestrian activities, horse and donkey biosecurity. Details of who to contact if you suspect Hendra virus in Qld
- “Hendra Virus” by NSW DPI – background and links to more information. Details of who to contact if you suspect Hendra virus in NSW.
- Hendra Virus Facebook page – No-one “likes” Hendra virus, but you can stay up to date on the latest outbreaks, information seminars and vaccine progress by “liking” this Facebook page.
More information on horse and human health, including biosecurity and other practical measures to reduce the risks:
- The Qld Horse Council has a range of detailed fact sheets on their website’s “Hendra Virus” page. These include:
- Hendra Virus Fact Sheet (PDF file) by Qld Horse Council – background, symptoms, flying fox distribution map, and information on some of the incidences of the disease
- Hendra Virus – Reducing the Risk (PDF file) by Qld Horse Council – important information for everyone who has anything to do with horses in regions where flying foxes visit (Qld Horse Council)
- Hendra – Property Design (PDF file) by Qld Horse Council – tips for setting up your horse property (Qld Horse Council)
- Bats and Trees (PDF file) by Qld Horse Council – includes signs that bats may be visiting at night (Qld Horse Council)
- “Hendra Virus Infection” on the Queensland Health website – a very thorough page, with information on the disease in both horses and humans, including prevention, transmission and symptoms.
- “Hendra Virus” by CSIRO – background, scientific information and updates on research progress into the new vaccine for horses.
Information for other states:
- Victoria – “Hendra Virus (HeV), Information for Horse Owners and Workers” from the DPI
- South Australia – “Flying-foxes and Hendra virus – Advice for Horse Owners” from PIRSA
- “Hendra Facts” website – Quote: “Hendra Virus is a serious issue, but with so much biased reporting and uninformed opinion, it can be hard to get to the facts. The result of this is people being given the wrong advice, and in at least one case, misdiagnosis. This site provides easy to understand explanations without bias, and provides links to authoritative government, scientific and veterinary sources.”
- “Hendra Virus Info Group” on Facebook – A friendly group for civilised discussion, with members including veterinary professionals, bat carers and interested horse people.
- “Hendra Awareness” – a concerned horse owner has started this page to share information, to petition for increased funding into research, and to discuss her concerns.