Equinescienceupdate - Full Article
Australian horse owners will welcome the news of the introduction of a vaccine* to help protect horses against the deadly Hendra virus. The vaccine, which is available only under permit from accredited veterinarians, will also assist in breaking the cycle of transmission that puts humans at risk of contracting this potentially lethal virus.
Hendra virus is a serious zoonotic infectious disease transmitted by flying foxes shedding the virus in their saliva, urine, aborted foetuses and/or reproductive fluids. Horses are thought to contract the virus by ingesting feed or water contaminated with one of these sources of infection.
With a high mortality rate, Hendra virus has claimed the lives of 81 horses, including nine deaths in 2012 alone. There is no known cure, so the vaccine is positioned to become the most effective defence against this virus.
“This vaccine significantly decreases the risk of exposure to Hendra virus for horse owners, handlers and veterinarians. For that reason, the Australian Veterinary Association recommends that all horses be vaccinated against the Hendra virus,” said Dr Ben Gardiner, President, Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). “The vaccine will also help to protect the health of horses and is a major win for anyone working in the equine industry, including veterinarians...”
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