Australian vets call for more research into Hendra virus

15:52, February 02, 2010      

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The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) issued a statement on Tuesday calling for more government funding of biosecurity against the Hendra virus.

The calls are in response to new research that shows pigs can contract the Hendra virus and possibly transmit it to humans.

"This research is a clear pointer to the potential risks of the spread of the disease from pigs to humans," AVA president Dr Mark Lawrie said.

"We have an estimated 23 million feral pigs as well as pigs raised for food in Australia.

"The Australian government needs to make a strong commitment to funding biosecurity research so we have a better understanding of these potential risks," he said.

Lawrie noted the spread of disease from bats to pigs to humans has already occurred in Australia, with a serious outbreak of the Menangle virus in the late 1990s.

To date, only seven human cases of Hendra have been recorded - all in Queensland and all traced to horses infected by bats.

Four of those cases were fatal and included two vets.

Source: Xinhua
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