Hendra strikes: scrutiny on four
FOUR people may have been exposed to the bat-borne Hendra virus after a horse died from the disease in North Queensland on Tuesday.Biosecurity Queensland has imposed a month-long quarantine on two residents and six other horses following the death of a miniature pony on the Koah property near Kuranda, west of Cairns.
It comes as a Cairns boy, 8, fights for his life in a coma in a Brisbane hospital after he was bitten or scratched by a bat with the rare but deadly rabies-like lyssavirus.
Kuranda veterinarian Dr Andrew Easton and his nurse who took blood samples from the dead horse before diagnosing it as Hendra are also being assessed by Queensland Health for low-level risk of exposure.
"It was a family pet, and it was lethargic, wobbly, for a few days before it died," Dr Easton said. "It is a hazard of living under the flight path of the bats."
Barron River MP Michael Trout had a horse die from Hendra on his property, next-door to the latest outbreak, two years ago.
"Lightning does strike twice," said Mr Trout, of tourist horse riding venture Blazing Saddles.
"I really feel for this family, I've been there, it is horrendous, heart-wrenching.
"On top of that there is the anxiety of a month of tests and quarantine."
It is the second case of Hendra virus in Queensland this year after a horse death near Mackay in January.
Four people have been killed by the virus since 1994.
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Closed down: The Koah property quarantined yesterday.