The information and links on this page give you access to the latest advice from key agencies about Hendra virus.
From 1994 to 2016 inclusive, there have been more than 70 sporadic confirmed cases of Hendra virus infection in horses. Most have been as a result of spill–over of infection from flying foxes (also called fruit bats) which are the natural hosts of this virus. Others have been the result of direct transmission from infected horses. All cases have all occurred in Queensland and in north–east New South Wales.
About Hendra virus
Transmission of the virus from an infected horse to one or more companion horses sometimes occurs, usually through very close contact. People have sometimes been infected with the virus from sick horses. Tragically four of the seven people infected during the period 1994 to 2012 have died and one reportedly has serious, ongoing health problems. Five of the seven were either veterinarians or were assisting veterinarians.
Prevention and biosecurity
It is important for all horse owners to have good biosecurity measures in place regardless of where they are located.
Priority biosecurity measures to help prevent Hendra virus infection include not allowing your horse(s) to be near fruiting and flowering trees that flying foxes may frequent, and covering feed bins and water troughs.
Incidents of Hendra virus infection in horses continue to be identified by veterinary authorities in Queensland and NSW. Information on the incidents in these states, on how to minimise the risk of horses becoming infected with Hendra virus, and ongoing research into this virus are available from the following websites.
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
- situation updates for horse industries, horse owners and veterinarians
- overview of Hendra virus
- guidelines for veterinarians handling potential Hendra virus infection in horses
- guidelines for horse industries and horse owners
NSW Department of Primary Industries
- bulletins for industry
- bulletins for veterinarians
- guidelines for veterinarians
- guidelines for horse owners
- questions and answers
Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
- information on Hendra virus
- the department’s role
- questions and answers
CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory
- background on Hendra virus
- research findings
- current research