Hendra Strikes Again – Randwick Trainers Warned

The Hendra virus situation in Queensland has worsened after an outbreak was confirmed in the states far north.

BioSecurity Queensland Chief Jim Thompson confirmed that the virus had been located on a property west of Cairns, but also said it was unrelated to the cases of the virus found in the south east corner of the state.

“We have had confirmation of our fourth Hendra case in Queensland. This case is a little bit different than the others in that it’s in northern Queensland, west of Cairns,” Thompson said.

“The horse was found to be sick on Sunday and was visited by a vet when samples were taken. The horse was depressed, wobbly and showed neurological symptoms and died on Monday.”

Tests on the samples taken by vets have since been tested and the cause of death was confirmed as Hendra virus, and the property has since been quarantined.

“We’ll make an assessment of the issues at that property,” Thompson said.

“We believe that there are a significant number of horses on the property, probably in the vicinity of 30.”

The affected property is known as ‘Blazing Saddles’ a tourist horse riding facility that is owned by Liberal National Party candidate Michael Trout.

Meanwhile, Randwick trainers are being put on heightened alert because of a large bat population which inhabits the nearby Centennial Park.

Racing New South Wales Chief Executive Peter V’landys has warned trainers to keep feed and water bins covered and to keep horses away from the fig trees which are located around the Randwick stabling area.

“Considerable numbers of these animals (bats) are known to visit the Randwick racecourse precinct to feed on the fruits of the many fig trees on course,” V’landys said.

“It is essential that Randwick trainers also take basic precautions to prevent the possibility of their horses being infected as well as minimising the risk of human infection.”

Since June 20, seven horses have died or been put down due to the Hendra virus. A further ten properties have been locked down for quarantine.