Hendra Virus


Hendra Virus infection was first observed in Queensland in the 1990's.  It is spread by bats and causes disease in horses that come into contact with bats (droppings. saliva, and probably urine).  The infection is always fatal in horses as any horse that is identified with the disease is to be euthanased to stop infection from spreading, and to reduce disease risk to humans.  Humans can be infected from infected horses.  Infection in humans causes severe disease and is usually fatal.  Humans that recover from the disease suffer illness for many years after their initial recovery.

The infection in horses causes respiratory disease (airway disease) and neurologic (brain disease).  A diagnosis can only be made by a specific blood test. 

We have not seen any cases of Hendra Virus infection in Victoria, however the bat populations in Victoria carry the virus, so it is probably only time until we seen infection spread from bats to horses when the conditions are right.

There is now a vaccine available to prevent disease in horses.  This vaccine has been shown to be 100% effective in clinical trials and is safe to administer.  I must be given by vets who have completed specific training to use and administer the vaccine.  A national registry is kept which includes each horse's microchip number.

We recommend every horse should get the vaccination.  Infection in Victoria is unlikely, but it carries a 100% case fatality rate in horses.  Vaccination also reduces the risk of human infection.

Vaccination is a requirement of entry for many horse events in Queensland, and New South Wales.

Please contact us on 51471008 for further information or to organise vaccination for your horse.

If you would like to look up some good information about Hendra Virus, see the Australian Veterinary Association, CSIRO or Queensland DPI websites.

Sale Veterinary centre

  • Address: 262 York Street, Sale
  • Telephone: (03)5144 3100
  • Fax: (03)5144 5968
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Gippsland Equine Hospital

  • Address: 31 Beet Road, Maffra
  • Telephone: (03)5147 1008
  • Fax: (03)5141 1439
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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