16 Jul '11, 4pm

Deadly horse virus spreads in Australia

Deadly horse virus spreads in Australia

SYDNEY: A small farm near horse racing facilities in Australia's third largest city was placed under lockdown Saturday following two fresh outbreaks of the Hendra virus that can be fatal if contracted by humans. Two horses were put down after showing signs of the bat-borne virus in separate cases in Brisbane and in Hervey Bay, 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of the city, which is home to two million people. Hendra is carried by fruit bats -- also known as flying foxes -- and spread to horses through half-chewed fruit or water and food contaminated by their urine and droppings. Queensland chief vet Rick Symons said tests had confirmed two more cases of the virus Saturday, taking to 11 the number of horses that have died since late June in the biggest Hendra epidemic since its discovery in 1994. No humans have yet been infected but at least 59 people have been exposed to th...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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