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Hendra Kills 150 In Asia As Aust Research Centre Closes

Thursday, 15th October 2009

Meanwhile a "powerful strand of the Hendra virus has killed more than 150 people in Bangladesh & parts of neighbouring India, as concerns are raised Australia's attack on the fatal illness will falter as a vital research centre closes it doors," reported The Courier-Mail. Scientists from across the world "met on the Sunshine Coast this week for a World Health Organisation-sponsored discussion on rare animal diseases including Hendra virus & related strands such as Nipah". Scientists say Nipah has "already passed from human-to-human rather than animal-to-human in Bangladesh & caused 156 deaths in 206 cases". Federal Liberal Senator Chris Back (a former equine veterinarian attending the conference) warned Nipah was "a far more virulent strand of the Hendra virus" & though Australia did not face immediate danger, authorities need to take the Hendra virus seriously because "these matters are now both health issues & national security issues." Back noted the Federal Government's recent decision to close down the Australian Biosecurity Co-operative Research Centre was causing "genuine alarm inside the nation's scientific community" because the ABCRC was "a reference point, bringing together field work on Hendra virus from Queensland & laboratory work at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong to give the fight against the disease coherence. The ABCRC has been the glue which sticks everything together: without it there is no direction."

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