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Monday, July 4, 2011

Australia : Hendra virus research continues as more horses contract the disease

Via ABC News :

" Biosecurity Queensland says the research into the Hendra virus continues as the third outbreak of the virus in South-East Queensland and Northern New South Wales in the past week is confirmed.

The potentially deadly virus has claimed the lives of four of the seven humans who have contracted the disease and over 45 horses have died or been euthanised since the first outbreak of the Hendra virus in 1994.

In the past week two separate outbreaks of the virus have been confirmed in South East Queensland and one in northern New South Wales.

The research body responsible for identifying the cause of the disease and it's characteristics, the Queensland Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (QCEID), continues to research into the virus but the Principal Veterinary Scientist from Biosecurity Queensland, Dr Janine Barrett says it's a complex virus and there is still much to be learnt.

"[Researchers] are looking at the ecological drivers for how Hendra virus behaves in bats, and what is driving it being transmitted to horses, and what they're finding is there are lots of factors involved.

Dr Barrett says many factors relating to bats are being explored, but researchers still don't have answers to a lot of the questions."

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