Vaccination of horses is the most effective way to help manage Hendra virus

13 Jun 2019

With the latest horse death from the Hendra virus, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is reminding horse owners of the importance of Hendra virus vaccination to help prevent this deadly virus in their horses.

President of AVA’s Equine Veterinarians Australia group, Dr Cristy Secombe, said that this latest death is extremely alarming, with it being the furthest south that a Hendra case has been recorded in Australia, near Scone, Australia’s Horse capital, in the upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

“Hendra virus is a deadly virus. For the benefit of horses and their owners, it is essential that horses located in, around or travelling to high-risk Hendra areas along the east coast, are vaccinated against Hendra virus,” she said.

From 1994, when the virus was identified, to now there have over 60 known Hendra incidents in Queensland and New South Wales, resulting in the death of over 100 horses. 

“Every one of these horses that has died because of Hendra represents one more compelling reason for horse owners to vaccinate their horses.

“The risk this disease poses to human health is also very real with seven confirmed cases in people leading to four deaths. So, it’s important that the horse community remains vigilant in protecting both horses and people from Hendra,” she said.

Dr Secombe said that the vaccine, introduced in 2012, remains the most effective way to help manage the Hendra virus and is fully registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

“Vaccination of horses provides a public health and workplace health and safety benefit by reducing the risk of Hendra virus transmission to humans and other susceptible animals and helps to ensure high standards of animal health and welfare.”

Horse owners should contact their local veterinarian immediately for more information about Hendra virus vaccination which is a very important part of their horse health and welfare strategy.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.

More on the Hendra virus

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.