What is the Hendra Virus?

Hendra virus (HeV) is an emerging virus disease that was first identified in a large outbreak of highly lethal disease in racehorses in 1994.

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Hendra virus has posed a number of challenges for horse owners, equine veterinarians, government agencies, equine industries and the general public since it was first identified in 1994.

Since then, outbreaks have continued to occur sporadically in coastal Queensland as far west as Chinchilla and from the Queensland border to as far south as Kempsey on the Mid-North Coast of NSW.

In disease outbreaks so far recorded, the virus has not been shown to be highly contagious, however, it is highly lethal. 

Private veterinary practitioners have been responsible for the early recognition and diagnosis by laboratory confirmation of all confirmed cases of Hendra virus in horses. Private veterinarians therefore have had, and continue to provide, a vital role in the early warning of the serious, potentially fatal consequences of human exposure.

Protection against Hendra

In 2012, a safe, effective horse vaccine became available. Vaccination of horses is the most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection and disease, and provides a workplace health and safety benefit as well as a public health benefit.

About Hendra

Hendra virus has posed a number of challenges for horse owners, equine veterinarians, government agencies, equine industries and the general public since it was first identified in 1994.

The story so far

From 1994 to August 2017, there have been 60 known outbreaks of Hendra resulting in the death of 102 horses, with a 79% mortality rate.

Information for the community

Clinical signs of Hendra virus infection are varied, vague and similar to many common equine ailments that veterinarians encounter on a daily basis.

The Hendra vaccine

The Equivac® HeV vaccine became available to horse owners on 1 November 2012.

In the news

Despite Hendra being found in horses only in Queensland and northern NSW so far, it has made news headlines right across the country.