Hendra Virus and Vaccination in Horses

Equivac HeV

Hendra Virus Vaccine Released

As you may have heard, a vaccine for the deadly Hendra virus was released in November 20121. Since 1994 this virus has killed over 80 horses together with the devastating consequences of four human deaths associated with the equine cases.

The vaccine is a great breakthrough in the fight against Hendra. Studies in vaccinated horses challenged with virus have shown that no clinical signs occurred, and neither virus nor evidence of virus replication in any tissue was found in the treated horses.

Outbreaks of Hendra virus to date have occurred from Cairns in North Queensland through to Macksville in Northern New South Wales and as far west as Chinchilla, however the risk of Hendra virus occurs across much of Australia.

Hendra virus is transmitted from bats to horses, and bats carrying Hendra virus have been identified in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory and most recently South Australia.

There is also the risk of horse to horse transmission, and with horses travelling interstate being so common, there is a risk of an infected horse travelling into an area that has never seen a case of Hendra virus before and shedding virus before it shows any symptoms of sickness.

Vaccination is the most effective way to safeguard yourself, your family and your horse against Hendra. Vaccination involves two injections given 3 weeks apart. Revaccination is every 6 months. Our practice includes veterinarians that are accredited to administer the Hendra vaccine to your horse right away.

1. Hendra vaccine, Equivac HeV, is only available under APVMA Minor Use Permit (PER13510)

Hendra virus has the potential to kill you, your family and your horses and with over 70% of outbreaks occurring between May and August, now is the perfect time to prepare through vaccination of all your horses.

Since 1994 this virus has killed over 80 horses together with the devastating consequences of four human deaths associated with the equine cases. Hendra virus is transmitted from bats to horses, and bats carrying Hendra virus have been identified in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory and most recently South Australia.

There is also the risk of horse to horse transmission, and with horses travelling interstate being so common, there is a risk of an infected horse travelling into an area that has never seen a case of Hendra virus before and shedding virus before it shows any symptoms of sickness.

The latest Hendra outbreaks have shown that there are no typical signs of Hendra Infection. For further information visit our Hendra Page

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