If you have had recent exposure to an infected horse and have not been contacted by public health staff, please telephone your nearest public health unit or 13 HEALTH 13 43 25 Wounds should be covered with a waterproof dressing. It is important to protect horse food and water from contamination by flying fox fluids, isolate sick horses early while awaiting test results, and pay attention to standard hygiene and cleaning practices. People who have had contact with a person with Hendra virus infection, including health care workers and family members, have been tested and shown no evidence of infection with the virus. Evidence of exposure to Hendra virus has been identified in asymptomatic dogs on two occasions. Preventing human infection As a horse may be infectious with Hendra virus before becoming noticeably unwell, it is important to pay attention to standard hygiene practices when interacting with any horse.
While the vaccine has been shown to be safe and to provide high levels of protection in horses, continued efforts to reduce exposure of horses to Hendra virus are essential. Children should be kept away from the horse. If a horse becomes unwell and Hendra virus infection may be a possibility, as few people as possible should care for the horse until the infection is ruled out. Spread is possible wherever horses have close contact with body fluids of an infected horse. While the exact route of infection is unknown, it is thought that horses may contract Hendra virus infection from sniffing or eating matter recently contaminated with flying fox urine, saliva or birth products. Where water is not available, wipe the area clean, then use a waterless cleanser such as alcohol based gel. Confirmed cases should never donate blood or any other tissue, even if they fully recover. Evidence of exposure to Hendra virus has been identified in asymptomatic dogs on two occasions. Notification Suspected cases of Hendra virus infection in horses should be notified urgently to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 during business hours or hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline. Research and testing of many other animals and insects has shown no evidence of Hendra virus infection occurring naturally in any other species. Disease in horses Hendra virus infection in horses can produce a wide range of signs and is often difficult to recognise. If body fluids get in the mouth, spit the fluid out and then rinse the mouth with clean water several times. These dogs were identified as contact animals on properties with infected horses. Horses should never be kissed on the muzzle. People who have had high level exposures to the body fluids of an infected horse may be offered experimental treatment with a type of antibody that may prevent infection. Disease in humans People infected by the Hendra virus have become unwell with: Information about Hendra virus for the general public, horse owners, horse handlers and veterinarians, including Guidelines for veterinarians handling potential Hendra virus infections in horses. Preventing human infection As a horse may be infectious with Hendra virus before becoming noticeably unwell, it is important to pay attention to standard hygiene practices when interacting with any horse. Pathology laboratories are required to urgently notify all requests for Hendra virus testing in humans to the appropriate public health unit. Public health response When a horse is strongly suspected or confirmed to be infected with Hendra virus, Biosecurity Queensland will notify Queensland Health and take urgent measures to minimise risk to other people and other animals horses, dogs and cats. Several hundred people have been exposed to Hendra virus infected horses but have not been infected. Other people have reported similar contact with infected horses but have remained well and their blood tests have shown no evidence of infection. Public health staff will seek to identify all people who may have been exposed to an infectious horse and conduct a detailed assessment of their level of exposure. Spread of infection to other horses can then happen. Early signs can include fever, increased heart rate and restlessness. However, 7 people have been confirmed to have Hendra virus following high levels of exposure to infected horses. There is no evidence that the virus can be passed directly from flying foxes to humans the environment to humans, or, from humans to horses There is no evidence of airborne spread where tiny particles remain suspended in the air.
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