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Culling bats won't stop Hendra Queensland Health


Queensland's chief health officer says horses and flying foxes should be separated to protect humans from Hendra virus.

Their comments come amid fears for a woman who received a high level of exposure after a foal at her Rockhampton property died from the virus on Sunday.
Tests results on the foal came back positive on Wednesday night.
The woman, whose age is not known, was with the dying animal and is expected to arrive at a Brisbane hospital on Thursday night for urgent assessment.
The foal was the fifth horse to die from Hendra in Queensland this year and follows a record 10 horse deaths in 2011.

The increasing outbreaks have led to calls to cull flying foxes, which carry the virus and pass it to horses.
But Queensland Health's chief health officer says culling bats is not the answer.
'I think the best thing to do is try and separate horses from flying foxes,' Dr Jeannette Young told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
'Humans can't get Hendra infections directly from flying foxes. It needs to go through a horse.
'So it's a matter of protecting the horses from flying foxes.'
Dr Young says it's too early to tell whether stress is causing bats to become more infectious.
'I know that work is being done to look into that hypothesis,' she said.
Earlier, Dr Young said the woman's partner and a male vet had received a low level of exposure to the virus.
But the woman received a high degree of exposure which - under health guidelines - means significant exposure to bodily fluids including respiratory secretions or blood.
Dr Young says the woman may be offered an experimental antibody that prevents Hendra from developing.
The monoclonal antibody is highly effective on animals but hasn't been formally trialled on humans.
However, three people had been given the antibody with no adverse effects, Dr Young said.
A Rockhampton vet who died from Hendra in 2009 was already dying when he was given the antibody.
Two people who were exposed to Hendra in Tewantin in 2010 and took the antibody did not develop the virus.
'It's risky only because it hasn't been tested,' Dr Young said.
'In theory it should be safe, but we can't say that until we actually test it.'
'... if she (the property owner) does get the infection, we do know it's of course very, very serious.
'This is going to be a very difficult time for her and her family, no matter what the outcome.'
The Hendra incubation period in humans ranges from five to 21 days.
There have been seven cases of Hendra infection and four deaths among humans worldwide, all in Queensland.
The Rockhampton property has been quarantined and two other horses and two dogs are being assessed, along with neighbourhood dogs and horses.
Biosecurity Queensland chief vet Dr Rick Symons said the latest property affected was within 5km of another property where a horse died in May.
However, no link had been found between the two cases, he said.

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Megabats and Microbats: Culling bats won't stop Hendra Queensland Health
Culling bats won't stop Hendra Queensland Health
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