Hendra case confirmed in Upper Hunter Valley

12 Jun 2019

Hendra virus has been confirmed in an unvaccinated mare on a property near Scone in the Upper Hunter Valley, NSW.

The horse developed neurological signs on Friday, 7 June, three days after being confined to a yard. It was euthanased by the owners after becoming unresponsive. As the horse was unvaccinated and had a sudden onset of neurological signs, the owners contacted the animal diseases hotline.

A District Veterinarian from Hunter Local Lands Services visited the property on Sunday 9 June to collect samples for Hendra Virus testing. Hendra virus infection was confirmed by the State Veterinary laboratory at Menangle on Wednesday, 12 June.

No other horses on the property are showing any signs of ill health. Their health status will be monitored daily. Officers from NSW health are undertaking risk assessments of people who have had varying degrees of contact with the affected horse to determine their risk.

Tracing of horse movements in the previous 16 days will be undertaken and a Biosecurity Direction is in place to control the movement of animals and people on and off the property.

Hendra virus infection is notifiable in NSW under the NSW Biosecurity Act. Most cases in NSW have been on the north coast, with a case at Kempsey in 2013 being the most southern case prior to the current case.

In NSW to date there have been 22 horse deaths as a result of Hendra virus on 20 properties since the first NSW case in 2006. There have been no human deaths from Hendra virus in NSW. Vaccination of horses is the most effective way to help manage Hendra virus disease.

Further reading

Media contact: NSW DPI: 6391 3686 (24 hours), NSW Health: via Hunter New England Health Communication Unit 4985 5522 or 0418 463 031 (After Hours)