Hendra first for Qld dog case

THE appearance of the deadly Hendra virus in a dog is unprecedented, Queensland authorities say.

A dog from a property already under quarantine near Beaudesert in south-east Queensland yesterday tested positive to Hendra.

Queensland chief vet Dr Rick Symons said it was the first time outside of a laboratory that an animal other than a flying fox, horse or human, had been confirmed with the virus.

“We don’t know how the dog contracted the virus or when it happened,” he said.

“Based on our knowledge to date, it is most likely that the dog caught the virus from an infected horse.”

The dog returned two negative results for the virus but a different type of test conducted at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Victoria confirmed the presence of Hendra antibodies.

“This means that at some point the dog has been exposed to the virus but to our knowledge has shown no signs of illness,” Dr Symons said.

The case has raised many questions for biosecurity and health officials and researchers.

Authorities will now recommend that people keep dogs and cats away from sick horses to reduce the risk of such an infection.

Tests on cats and dogs on 11 properties currently under quarantine in Queensland have turned up no other positive results.

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