Hendra virus

Reviewed: 24 June 2014

Hendra Virus Vaccine

A Hendra virus vaccine for horses produced by a commercial manufacturer was released on Thursday 1 November 2012. Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses. Human infection and death have occurred following high-level exposure to body fluids from an infected horse. Vaccinating horses is an important measure to prevent this occurring and provides a public health and workplace health and safety benefit.

The vaccine has been released under special conditions and only veterinarians who have completed an online training module managed by the manufacturer will be accredited to order and administer the vaccine.

For more information see:

Current situation June 2014

Hendra virus has been confirmed as the cause of death of one horse west of Murwillumbah on the NSW north coast.

The property has been placed in quarantine and the dead horse has been buried. The 31-year-old stockhorse gelding died overnight on June 21.

Staff from the Local Land Services, DPI and NSW Health are working closely with the property owners.

The horse had been in a paddock on a rural acreage, in an area which has regular flying fox activity.

Samples have been taken from five remaining horses on the property and the horses are under surveillance.

This is the first Hendra case in NSW in 2014. Last year Hendra was confirmed in four horses and one dog on four separate properties on the NSW mid north Coast – two properties near Macksville and two properties near Kempsey.

Horse owners should remain vigilant and continue to take steps to minimise exposure of their horses. Horse owners should talk with their private veterinarian about vaccinating their horse. Horses should be kept away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. Any fruit lying underneath trees should be picked up and disposed of before the horses are returned to the paddock. People are reminded to use good hygiene practices when handling horses.

General information on Hendra virus

Information for vets

Information for event organisers

Information for who own or handle horse

Response documents

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Report suspect cases

Hendra is a notifiable emergency animal disease. If you suspect your horse has Hendra virus keep everyone away from the horse and call your private veterinarian immediately. The vet will notify Local Land Services or an inspector with NSW DPI, if they consider the case highly suspect for Hendra.

If they are unavailable, and the illness is progressing rapidly, call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Media resources

Pictures, video and audio resources

Effect on humans

NSW Health provides information on how hendra virus can affect people.