The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is urging horse owners to remain vigilant, following confirmation of Hendra virus infection in an unvaccinated horse near Lismore.
Hendra virus is potentially fatal to humans who come in contact with infected horses.
NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss, said the property near Lismore has been placed under movement restrictions by Local Land Services.
‘This is the first case of Hendra virus confirmed in NSW this year,’ Dr Middlemiss said.
‘Samples from the horse were sent by a private veterinarian for DPI laboratory analysis , which confirmed the Hendra virus last night.
‘The 11-year-old gelding was euthanised last night by the Local Land Services district veterinarian.
Dr Middlemiss said the horse was noticed to be lethargic on Thursday (July 6) and by Friday was not eating and was wobbly on its feet.
‘There has been a case of Hendra virus in the area before.
‘All known Hendra virus cases have occurred in Queensland or northern NSW,’ she said, but added that ‘cases could occur wherever there are flying foxes or in horses that had recent contact with flying foxes prior to movement.’
Dr Middlemiss advised allhorse owners to 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,’ she 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.’
Dr Middlemiss said that if your horse is unwell you should keep people and other animals away from the horse and call your vet 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.