Hendra virus outbreaks 2011 and before

Twenty eight known outbreaks of Hendra virus occurred between 1994 and 2011, all involving the infection of horses. Humans were infected in four of these outbreaks as a result of direct contact with infected horses.

The distribution of black and spectacled flying foxes covers the outbreak sites, and the timing of incidents indicates a seasonal pattern of outbreaks possibly related to the seasonality of flying fox birthing. As there is no evidence of transmission to humans directly from bats, it is thought that human infection only occurs via an intermediate host.

October 2011, Beachmere, Queensland: The last reported case for 2011 occurred on 15 October at Beachmere just north of Brisbane, following the first case on the same property that was confirmed on 11 October.

August 2011,  Ballina, New South Wales: Death of one horse. A horse was confirmed dead from Hendra virus on 30 August at a property near Ballina.

August 2011, Ballina, New South Wales: Death of one horse on a property near Ballina on 17 August.

August 2011, Ballina and Mullumbimby, New South Wales: Death of three horses. On 18 August three more horses were reported as confirmed Hendra cases - two on a new property near Ballina, and one on a new property at Mullumbimby.

August 2011, Gold Coast hinterland, Queensland: A case was confirmed on 23 August at a property in the Gold Coast hinterland.

July 2011, Wollongbar, New South Wales: Death of two horses. Hendra case in a horse was confirmed near Wollongbar on Friday 1 July. The companion horse on this property subsequently showed clinical signs, was euthanased and confirmed as a Hendra case on 13 July.

July 2011, Macksville, New South Wales: Death of one horse. A confirmed case was reported on 7 July in Macksville on the mid-north coast. This is the southernmost case that has been reported to-date.

July 2011, Lismore, New South Wales: Death of one horse. Hendra virus infection in one horse was confirmed on 16 July on a property near Lismore.

July 2011, Logan and Chinchilla, Queensland: Two cases were confirmed on 22 July - one from a horse that died the previous month in Logan, and another from a recent death in Chinchilla. The Chinchilla case is the first confirmed west of the Great Dividing Range. While initial tests were negative for the Logan horse, further testing at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory showed that the horse had been exposed to Hendra virus.

July 2011, Mullumbimby, New South Wales: Death of one horse on a property near Mullumbimby on 27 July.

July 2011, Hervey Bay and Boondall, Queensland: Two unrelated incidents were confirmed on 16 July on properties at Hervey Bay and Boondall. They each involved one confirmed case of Hendra virus infection in a horse.

July 2011, Kuranda, Queensland: Biosecurity Queensland place a property at Kuranda, west of Cairns, under quarantine on 12 July. 

July 2011, Park Ridge, Queensland: Death of one horse on a property in Park Ridge on the outskirts of Brisbane.

July 2011, Mount Alford, Queensland: Death of three horses. The first horse on the property at Mount Alford near Boonah was euthanased on 7 July and the tests returned positive to Hendra virus the following night. Another horse on the property was ill and had died two weeks ago was confirmed as positive to Hendra virus and another horse became ill and was euthanased on 4 July.

At the same property in Mount Alford a dog tested positive for Hendra virus infection. This was confirmed by Queensland’s Chief Veterinary Officer on 26 July 2011.

This is the first time outside laboratory conditions that Hendra virus infection has been found in an animal other than a horse, a flying fox or a human.

The dog, which was on a property where with Hendra virus infection was found in horses, was routinely tested as part of the quarantine process. The dog returned two negative results for the presence of the virus, but a different test conducted at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (Geelong), has confirmed the presence of antibodies. The dog was subsequently euthanased to minimise the risk of the virus re-emerging later and infecting people or other animals. 

More information about Hendra and dogs can be found on the Hendra virus page.

June 2011, Beaudesert, Queensland: Death of one horse on a property near Beaudesert south of Brisbane.

May 2010, Tewantin, Southern Queensland: Death of one horse and 11 people tested for Hendra virus infection. Tests on humans and other horses on the property found to be negative for Hendra virus infection.

August 2009Cawarral, Queensland: Death of one horse; the death of three other horses is being investigated. Queensland veterinary surgeon Alister Rodgers tested positive after treating the horses. On September 1, 2009 after two weeks in a coma, he became the fourth person to die from exposure to the virus.

July 2008Cannonvale, Queensland: Death of two horses.

July 2008Redlands, Brisbane, Queensland: Death of five horses; four died from the Henda virus, the remaining animal recovered but was euthanased as it posed a health threat. Two veterinary workers from the affected veterinary practice were infected leading to the death of one, veterinary surgeon Dr Ben Cunneen, on 20 August, 2008. The second veterinarian was hospitalised after pricking herself with a needle she had used to euthanase, the horse that had recovered. A nurse exposed to the disease while assisting Cunneen in caring for the infected horses was also hospitalised.

July 2007Clifton Beach, Queensland: Infection of one horse (euthanased).

October 2006Murwillumbah, New South Wales: Death of one horse.

June 2006Sunshine Coast, Queensland: Death of one horse.

December 2004Townsville, Queensland: Death of one horse.

October 2004, Cairns, Queensland: Death of one horse. A vet involved in an autopsy of the horse was infected with Hendra virus and suffered a mild illness.

January 1999Cairns, Queensland: Death of one horse.

September 1994, Brisbane, Queensland: 14 horses died from a total of 20 that were infected and the remaining six were euthanased. Two people infected with one death.

August 1994, Mackay, Queensland: Death of two horses and one person. The person relapsed and died a year after infection.

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