Sunshine Coast death negative to Hendra virus

Racing Queensland Limited has advised that a horse recently transported from Ballarat to the Sunshine Coast which died on Sunday night tested negative to Hendra virus.

RQL director of integrity operations Jamie Orchard said the horse exhibited respiratory symptoms during the trip north and samples were taken to exclude the possibility of Hendra virus during an overnight stop.  

“Subsequent analysis proved negative to the virus,” he said.  “While the horse in this case was not suffering from Hendra virus, this case serves as another reminder to industry participants to remain vigilant.”

Meanwhile, Queensland Horse Council president Debbie Dekker appealed for calm as the industry deals with a growing number of deaths from Hendra virus.

“The priority is to get all the horses away from those areas where flying foxes are feeding at night,” Dekker said.  “If you can’t lock them up in a covered shelter or a stable, at least remove them from paddock with trees.”

Her statement comes in the wake of Federal MP Bob Katter’s call for the bats to be shot.

But Dr Kerryn Parry-Jones, from the University of Sydney, says even if they’re moved or culled, new populations will return.

“Flying foxes are highly migratory.  They’re in an area because there’s food there,” she said.  “So if you have food sources for say 10,000 animals, even if you kill all those 10,000 within a very short period of time, you can expect more bats coming in.”

Biosecurity Queensland representative Pat Kalinowski was at Deagon racecourse on Tuesday morning discussing Hendra Virus issues.

Any possible cases of Hendra virus should be immediately reported to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23