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Hendra virus: an emerging paramyxovirus in Australia.

Lancet Infect Dis. 2012 Aug 23;

Authors: Mahalingam S, Herrero LJ, Playford EG, Spann K, Herring B, Rolph MS, Middleton D, McCall B, Field H, Wang LF

Abstract

Hendra virus, first identified in 1994 in Queensland, is an emerging zoonotic pathogen gaining importance in Australia because a growing number of infections are reported in horses and people. The virus, a member of the family Paramyxoviridae (genus Henipavirus), is transmitted to horses by pteropid bats (fruit bats or flying foxes), with human infection a result of direct contact with infected horses. Case-fatality rate is high in both horses and people, and so far, more than 60 horses and four people have died from Hendra virus infection in Australia. Human infection is characterised by an acute encephalitic syndrome or relapsing encephalitis, for which no effective treatment is currently available. Recent identification1 of Hendra virus infection in a domestic animal outside the laboratory setting, and the large range of pteropid bats in Australia, underpins the potential of this virus to cause greater morbidity and mortality in both rural and urban populations and its importance to both veterinary and human health. Attempts at treatment with ribavirin and chloroquine have been unsuccessful. Education, hygiene, and infection control measures have hitherto been the mainstay of prevention, while access to monoclonal antibody treatment and development of an animal vaccine offer further opportunities for disease prevention and control.

PMID: 22921953 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Rogue Equine Comment:  We are fortunate in the US that no known virus exists which is similar to Hendra.

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