Racing Queensland To Continue Race Meets Despite Hendra Threat

By: Sarah Fortnum
July 18th, 2011

Racing Queensland is continuing to ensure the public that race meetings in the state will not be jeopardised by the growing threat of Hendra Virus.

The reassurance follows further outbreaks of Hendra in both Hervey Bay on the Fraser Coast and Boondall on Brisbane’s north side.

Racing Queensland’s Jamie Orchard insists that upcoming race days will not be affected, despite the latest occurrence of Hendra being detected just 10 kilometres from Brisbane’s Eagle Farm Racecourse.

“We don’t see the need for it to affect any race meetings at this stage, people are getting on with it,” Mr Orchard said.

“Certainly the trainers in the racing industry are very conscious of what steps they need to take to minimise the risk.

“They’re already taking the various precautions that we’re recommending so we’re fairly confident at this point that racing shouldn’t be affected.

“While we’ve very conscious of every particular instance and the potential consequences of an outbreak, we think that the risks to the racing industry are well-contained.”

Australian Veterinary Association president Barry Smyth feels that the rapid spread of the virus around Queensland and New South Wales has made people more aware of the risks.

“The large number of infected properties in the past three weeks in Queensland and NSW has really heightened peoples’ awareness of the fact that Hendra Virus can pop up anywhere at any time,” Mr Smith said.

“I’m sure there is a marked increase in awareness of the possibility that any sick horse could have a Hendra Virus infection.”

Meanwhile, another horse has died due to the disease in New South Wales.

The horse passed away unexpectedly on Thursday and the blood sample taken from the horse tested positive to the virus.

The property, which is the third to report Hendra in New South Wales alone, has now been quarantined.

“There is one other horse on the quarantined property which is currently showing no signs of illness,” NSW chief veterinary officer Ian Roth said.

“The horse had been in a paddock containing a fig tree, so it is likely that flying foxes were the source of infection.”

Dr Roth is urging people to keep an eye out for signs of the deadly Hendra Virus.

“If you suspect your horse has Hendra virus, keep way from the horse and call your private veterinarian immediately,” he said.

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