Have Your say on proposed new standards for cattle & sheep welfare (Extended deadline, 4 August 2013)
SA backs national OJD plan with abattoir surveillance & health statements (Media release, February 28 2013)
More than dog and disease control: Sheep Industry Fund seeks innovative projects (Media release, 24 Jan 2013)
Apiarists and lucerne growers warned of pest threat (Media release, 22 Jan 2013)
Livestock and pet owners urged to prepare for heat (Media release, 3 Jan 2013)
Hendra virus is an extremely uncommon virus that can cause fatal disease in people and horses. The virus is carried by flying foxes (fruit bats) but does not cause disease in these animals. Horses can become infected when in close contact with an infected flying fox.
The virus can multiply rapidly in horses resulting in large amounts of virus being excreted in nasal secretions, urine and faeces. All known human cases have resulted from very close contact between the person and an infected horse. Veterinarians and their hospital staff are a particularly high risk group. There have been no known cases of people becoming infected directly from flying foxes.
Hendra virus has been detected on or east of the Great Dividing Range from Northern Queensland to Northern New South Wales.
In January 2013, Hendra virus was detected in flying foxes in Adelaide’s north parklands.
People, in particular horse owners, should be alert but not alarmed by this detection.
Hendra virus can be transmitted to horses but some simple precautions can be taken by horse owners to minimise the risk. Owners should prevent their horses being near fruiting and flowering trees that flying foxes may frequent and also cover feed bins and water troughs.
Horse owners should immediately contact their vet if their horse is unwell. Biosecurity SA will work with veterinarians if needed to rule out Hendra virus. Likewise, if owners have any concerns or questions about the virus, they should discuss these with their vet.
Although there have been no cases recorded of Hendra virus being transmitted to humans, the general public is warned not to touch flying foxes or other bats under any circumstances. If a sick or injured animal is found, contact Fauna Rescue’s 24-hour service on 8289 0896.
In the unlikely event someone is bitten or scratched by a flying-fox, or any other Australian bat species, they should immediately wash the wound thoroughly with warm soapy water and seek medical advice.
There is an extremely small chance that a horse could be transported into South Australia that was infected in QLD or NSW. The incubation period (the time from infection to becoming sick) is 5 to 16 days.
The clinical signs of Hendra virus infection are very vague. Any horse that has been recently (3 weeks) transported into South Australia from Queensland or NSW with the following signs should be considered suspicious for Hendra virus
While neurological signs (including abnormal muscle twitching, weakness and loss of balance) and respiratory signs (nasal discharge, coughing, breathing difficulty) are the most common signs they are not always seen.
Any sick horses should be examined by your private veterinarian, who will work with PIRSA-Biosecurity to arrange exclusion testing for Hendra virus infection if required. The use of appropriate personal protective equipment during this examination is essential.
Human infections have occurred from handling Hendra Virus infected horses (both live and dead horses). Contact with suspect horses should be avoided until a veterinarian has investigated and provided advice on handling affected horses safely.
If contact occurs, the contaminated skin should be washed thoroughly with soap and water, ideally by taking a shower. Any cuts or abrasions that become exposed or contaminated should be cleansed thoroughly with soap and water. If available, an antiseptic with anti-virus action such as povidone-iodine, iodine tincture, aqueous iodine solution or alcohol (ethanol) should be applied after washing.
To report, please call:
You’ll be put into contact with PIRSA Biosecurity Animal staff who will give detailed advice on how to proceed.
For more information either contact:
Mary Carr on 08 8207 7872
Horse and Donkey Biosecurity - Daff