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Lethal Horse Virus Jumps Species, Detected in Dog

Lethal Horse Virus Jumps Species, Detected in Dog

The Hendra virus, carried by bats and lethal to horses, may have jumped species in Australia. Discovery News reports that a dog has tested positive for Hendra antibodies. The dog lives on a rural property where an outbreak of the virus has been confirmed.

“This is the first time outside of a laboratory that an animal other than a flying fox or a horse, or a human, has been confirmed with Hendra virus infection,” Rick Symons, Queensland state’s Chief Veterinary Officer, told Discovery News.

The Hendra virus is believed to be spread when bat droppings contaminate water, fruit or other food consumed by horses. A total of 14 horses have died or been put down because of the virus since its discovery in 1994. Four of seven humans known to have contracted Hendra virus have died from it. However, no humans have tested positive for the virus in the current outbreak affecting Queensland and New South Wales. This is the first dog known to contract the virus.

“We donít know how the dog contracted the virus or when it happened,” Symons said. “Based on our knowledge to date, it is most likely that the dog caught the virus from an infected horse.”

Although infected and quarantined, the dog reportedly remains in good health.

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Photo by Peter J. Markham, Loretto, MN

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57 comments

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5:44PM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

Times are changing!

5:49PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

Thank you for the info.

1:39PM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

There seems to be a lot of zoonotic diseases now. Is this mother nature trying to tell us something? I hope they find a cure.

12:48AM PDT on Aug 1, 2011

Firstly it is NOT bats that spead the disease!!!!
It is Flying Foxes and only very stressed ones at that!

Sadly today the 20 month old Kelpie "Dusty" was 'put down'.... the Vet was a family vet and wanted to wait until another test was done on her, but mostly for Dusy's family come to terms with with the death of 3 of their beloved Equine family members and now one of their 5 dogs.
Thankfully the humans and the other dogs are still showing 'clear' with the latest blood tests, but their property is still quarintined.
If you have Flying Fox's near you take simple precausions to help:
1)Don't place water tubs or feed bowls under any flowering or fruiting trees, especially native gum trees as they consume these flowers as a good sauce of calcium.
2)Wash buckets and hands before preparing your horses feeds. Just as you would for youself.
3)Have smaller water tubs and refresh them at least 2ce daily.
4)Not every Flying Fox spreads this disease, it is only those who are very stressed.
Flying Foxes are a valuable animal to Native Australian enviroment, they pollinate several species of gums that the Koala needs to feed upon.

5)

2:36PM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

I wouldn't be in the least surprised if this virus was man made, just as I believe the AIDS virus was. Has anyone read 'PANDEMIC' by the author James Barrington? A very good read and could explain how some of these virus' come about.

11:08AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

That's not good.

9:10AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

Glad the dog is fine.

8:48AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

Yeah.... jump on on to the Republicans!!! I sure do hope this virus will be eliminate!

8:43AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

We hope this virus can be eliminated soon.

7:52AM PDT on Jul 29, 2011

If the dog doesn't get sick, maybe his antibodies could help eliminate the virus for ever.

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