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Australian Racing Board Confirms Hendra Virus

Thursday, 10th July 2008

The Australian Racing Board (ARB) has confirmed the outbreak of the Hendra Virus in Queensland. In its release the ARB stated: "Biosecurity Queensland has announced that laboratory results received last night (Tuesday, 8th July) have confirmed that three horses from a veterinary practice on the outskirts of Brisbane have tested positive for Hendra Virus. Queensland Biosecurity inspectors moved quickly to quarantine the practice and establish thorough disinfection procedures to ensure the area is fully contained." Meanwhile, "Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries, The Hon. Tim Mulherin, has announced that expert epidemiologists from Biosecurity Queensland were working with the practice to determine how and when the infection occurred." Hendra is a serious but rare virus which occasionally affects horses. As a zoonotic disease, it can also spread from horses to humans, but that is also rare. The release notes: "Of those diagnosed with the virus, one horse has died, one is recovering, and one was euthanased early this evening. Biosecurity Queensland is proceeding to sample 37 other horses which are located at the practice. However the first priority is containment and disinfection." The ARB emphasised that it's business as usual, commenting: "There is currently NO prospect of interruption to racing from this incident."

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