Seventh horse dies of Hendra in Australia, more cases feared

15:11, July 07, 2011      

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Horse owners and veterinarians should treat every sick horse as a potential Hendra case, Australia's Queensland horse industry warned on Thursday.

The warning came as authorities confirmed that in New South Wales (NSW), a second horse living on a property near Macksville died of the Hendra virus.

It's the seventh horse dying from the disease in recent weeks, with two cases in NSW and five in Queensland.

The NSW Health Department said six people who had close contact with the infected horse would undergo tests.

Meanwhile, Queensland Horse Council president Debbie Dekker said news of another case was worrying.

"It is scary. There has never been this many Hendra outbreaks at one time but then again last year there was only one case and that was unusual too," Dekker said.

Dekker said Hendra had many varied symptoms that could resemble those caused by colic or flu.

"Until the horse vaccine is in production we have to be extremely careful and approach all sick horses with the greatest care," she said.

"This means wearing glasses, wearing a mask and gloves."

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