Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis (disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals) that causes severe and often fatal disease in both infected horses and humans. The natural host of the virus has been identified as being fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
HeV was identified during the first recorded outbreak of the disease in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra, Australia, in 1994. The outbreak involved 21 stabled racehorses and two human cases. As of July 2016, 53 disease incidents involving over 70 horses have been reported. These incidents were all confined to the north-eastern coast of Australia. A total of seven humans have contracted Hendra virus from infected horses, particularly through close contact during care or necropsy of ill or dead horses
Symptoms of HeV infection in humans range from mild influenza-like illness to fatal respiratory or neurological disease.
There is no specific treatment for human cases of Hendra virus. Intensive supportive care is provided, and the use of monoclonal antibodies is being investigated. A registered Hendra animal vaccine exists and vaccination is recognised as an effective way to reduce the risk of horses becoming infected and to reduce the likelihood of human exposure.
There is vaccine
A registered Hendra animal vaccine an effective way to reduce the risk of horses becoming infected.