The RT-cPCR test detects the genome (RNA) of Hendra virus.
- 5 mL - blood - K3 EDTA tube
- 5mL - liquor (CSF) - sterile tube
- 2 to 5 working days
What is Hendra virus?
- Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis that causes severe and often fatal disease in both infected horses and humans.
- The natural host of the virus has been identified as being fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.
The clinical signs in horses can include:
- frothy nasal mucus
- high temperature
- rapid heart rate
- muscle spasms and twitching
- muscle weakness
- balance difficulties
- rapid deterioration.
- Hendra virus can be transmitted from flying fox to horse, horse to horse and horse to human.
- The exact route of transmission is not known, but it is thought that horses become infected via contact or droplet transmission of the virus.This may occur by ingesting material contaminated by infected flying fox body fluids and excretions.
- While Hendra virus is present in flying fox populations periodically, the likelihood of horses becoming infected is low. Hendra virus can spread from horse to horse through direct contact with infectious body fluids, or through indirect contact via equipment contaminated with infectious body fluids.
- The few cases of Hendra virus infection in people occurred following high-level exposure to respiratory secretions (e.g. mucus) and/or blood and other body fluids from an infected horse.
- Other people have reported having some contact with infected horses but have remained well, and their blood tests have shown no evidence of Hendra virus infection.
- There is no evidence of Hendra virus spreading from person to person or from flying foxes to humans.
- The scientific information available on the disease is not complete. Research continues so that we can learn more about Hendra virus—particularly about how it is transmitted from flying foxes to horses.
How to reduce the risk of horses becoming infected:
- A Hendra virus vaccine is available for horses. Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses. Discuss the option of vaccination with your veterinarian. See Vaccination in this brochure for more information.
- Remove horse feed and water containers from under trees. If possible, place feed and water containers under a shelter.
- Remove your horses from paddocks where flowering/fruiting trees may be attracting flying foxes. Return the horses only after the trees have stopped flowering/fruiting and the flying foxes have gone. If the horses cannot be removed from the paddock, consider fencing (temporary or permanent) to restrict access to flowering/fruiting trees. Clean up any fruit debris underneath the trees before returning the horses. If it is not possible to remove your horses from paddocks for long periods, try to temporarily remove your horses during times of peak flying fox activity (usually at dusk and during the night).
- Clean and disinfect gear exposed to any body fluids from horses before using it on another horse. This includes items like halters, lead ropes and twitches. Talk to your veterinarian about which cleaning agents and disinfectants to use.
- When cleaning contaminated equipment, wear gloves, cover any cuts or grazes and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- If your horse becomes sick, isolate it from other horses, other animals and people until a veterinarian’s opinion is obtained.