Hendra virus - information for vets

Last updated: 12 Aug 2013

Biosecurity guidelines and other veterinary advice

Biosecurity guidelines and other veterinary advice can be found in the 'For Veterinarians' section of the Queensland DPI website: www.daff.qld.gov.au (includes 'Guidelines' and 'Veterinary practice pack').

This information was written for Queensland vets but the principles are applicable wherever there is a risk of Hendra virus infection.

In NSW Hendra is a notifiable disease under the Stock Diseases Act 1923 and the Animal Diseases (Emergency Outbreaks) Act 1991.

For further advice on the investigation or management of a suspect animal, or to report suspected cases ring Local Land Services, an inspector with the Department of Primary Industries, or the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Information on sampling for Hendra

See Vet Lab Manual - Hendra virus.

Viral transport media may be obtained by contacting the State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (SDVL) on virology.enquiries@industry.nsw.gov.au, ph 02 4640 6337 or 02 4640 6377. The media may be stored in the freezer until required.

Sampling costs

There is no charge to the submitter for laboratory testing to exclude Hendra, nor for courier costs associated with transporting samples to the laboratory.

Submission of specimens

See Specimen submission form.

Information on the transport of specimens

See Vet Lab Manual - Transport of specimens

Call Customer Service on 1800 675 623 to order pre-addressed consignment notes or to get the cost code to charge the cost of freight to the Laboratory. 

Please contact the SVDL on 02 4640 6325 or at vet.lab@dpi.nsw.gov.au during business hours or the hotline on 18000 675 888 out-of-hours to alert them that samples are being dispatched. Laboratory staff will also provide advice on specimen collection or submission.  

Packaging of specimens

See Vet Lab Manual - Packaging of specimens.

Samples for Hendra exclusion may be packed as IATA 650 category B, biological substances UN 3373 as for routine diagnostic specimen submissions, i.e. small foam Esky inside a cardboard box. Include an ice-brick to keep samples cool but not frozen. Double bag the samples.

All submissions for the exclusion of Hendra virus must have a clear warning note, e.g. 'Hendra exclusion' inside the Esky and on top of the samples. Note: Do not record this on the outside packaging or on the consignment note.

Human health issues

Contact your GP, local Emergency Department or local Public Health Unit if you have concerns about possible exposure of people to a horse with Hendra virus infection. Contact details for NSW Public Health Units are available at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/Infectious/phus.asp or under 'NSW Government' at the front of the White Pages.

For general information on Hendra and human health see: www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/infectious/hendra.asp